By FRANCINA PHIRI –
THE ban on the use of plastic carrier bags and other packaging materials takes effect today, with Government saying there will be no further extensions to the deadline for the implementation of the Statutory Instrument (SI).
Water Development Sanitation and Environmental Protection Permanent Secretary Ed Chomba said yesterday Government had given supermarkets and other players enough time to phase out the plastic.
Bishop Chomba said any player that would be found serving customers in plastics of less than 30 microns faced a fine of up to K90, 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years.
He said in an interview yesterday that the ministry was still open to attend to any concerns from any stakeholders with regard to the phasing out of plastics.
Bishop Chomba said the law enforcement agency would not take lightly to any chain stores found guilty of flouting the dictates of the Statutory Instrument (SI).
Bishop Chomba further commended chain stores such as Spar and Choppies supermarkets for implementing the SI.
The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) said the resolution to ban the use of disposable plastic bags will stimulate the manufacture of durable alternatives that were environmentally sustainable.
ZDA director general Perry Mapani said the agency expected the ban to increase value-addition within the timber industry as a result of a growth in paper-based packaging.
Mr Mapani said in a statement that the regulation would also encourage innovation in the handcraft sub-sector aimed at producing attractive, fashionable, yet durable carrier bags using local biodegradable materials while creating more jobs.
He explained that the opportunities created by the new regulation would establish a vibrant and robust recycling sub-sector that will utilize locally generated waste to create profits, new
environmentally-friendly products, and more jobs for Zambians.