THE Zimbabwe Environmental Management Agency (Ema) has indefinitely postponed a ban on plastic carrier bag use, which was initially scheduled for December 31 this year.
In a letter to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu, Ema said the decision came after further consultations and “taking into consideration current national circumstances.”
Government had planned to phase out plastic carrier bags by December 2022 to reduce plastic pollution.
“Following a letter from Ema to you dated 12 November 2021 on the phasing out of plastic carrier bags by 31 December 2022, Ema after further engagement with relevant sector organisations and also considering national circumstances has seen it fit to give more time before the phase-out is effected,” Ema said without giving possible timelines.
The Ema letter was signed by its director general Aaron Chigona.
“However, we should be mindful of the global thrust towards an international legally binding instrument to curb plastic pollution which is expected to be in place by 2025.
“The agency therefore encourages the nation to embrace environmentally friendly alternatives and appreciates efforts that have been made in the provision and promotion of alternatives to carrier plastic bags,” Ema said.
The agency promised to keep relevant sectors informed on every step towards the phasing out of plastic carrier bags which it says was inevitable.
“Time frames will be communicated well on time for the nation to ready itself for the phase out,” Ema said.
Globally, over 40 countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags include China, France, Rwanda, Kenya and Italy.
In 2017, Ema banned use of foamed polystyrene packaging commonly known as kaylite used for take-out food in restaurants in the country on grounds that the trays pose potential health risks.