cde nhema 05.08.10.jpgThe government has announced a ban on the use of plastic shopping bags which pollute the environment and do not decompose easily.


Even though plastic bags are one of the modern convenience goods that many seem to be unable to do without, they are responsible for causing pollution, killing wildlife, and using up the precious resources of the earth.


Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister, Cde Francis Nhema said following a meeting with all stakeholders in the plastic industry including retailers and manufacturers it was agreed that the country should phase out the use of plastic bags replacing them with paper carrier bags which can easily decompose.


He said once used most plastic bags go into landfill, or rubbish dumps ending up littering the environment or finding their way into our waterways, parks, and streets because they are non-biodegradable and their decomposition take up to a 1000 years.


Destruction of plastics by burning causes air pollution and depletion of the ozone layer which protects the earth against the sun’s harmful rays.

Cde Nhema said about 5000 animals such as donkeys, cattle, sheep and goats are said to be killed every year after ingesting plastic bags, adding that the ingested plastic bag remains intact even after the death and decomposition of the animal, thus it lies around on the landscape where another victim may ingest it.

Meanwhile, stakeholders in the plastic industry have requested for the phasing out of the plastic shopping bag over two years for a proper transition.


Plastic bags are very popular with both retailers as well as consumers because they are cheap, strong, lightweight, functional, as well as a hygienic means of carrying food as well as other goods.


They said while governments may be working out ways to lessen the impact of plastic bags on the environment, it is everyone’s responsibility to shoulder some of the responsibilities for this problem, which ultimately harms society.