Since 1977 plastics bags have been an essential part of our day to day lives. They have made the transportation of goods such as food, chemicals and even waste materials much easier. However, due to the non-biodegradable and polluting nature of most plastic bags on the market, bans have been placed on their production in many African countries like Rwanda and Kenya.
Zambia too has decided to step up as it announced the ban on the use of plastic bags and their resultant waste through the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection.This was in accordance with section 58 of the environmental Management Act No 12 of 2011.
Plastics bags have been a hazard to the environment as they result in the deaths of animals and clogging of drains which consequently leads to floods and destruction of property. The resulting floods escalate the spread of water borne diseases such as Cholera which took the lives of many Zambians in October 2017.
Zambia is home to the Victoria falls which makes it a wonderful tourist destination and thus, the ban on the use of plastics bags will contribute to the cleanliness and beauty of the country. This move will also see a rise in production of environmental friendly products, and help establish a recycling sub-sector hence creating employment opportunities for the Zambian people.
Still, some may argue that the ban on plastics bags may result in the cutting down of trees for paper bags which can cause deforestation. While others may feel that production of plastic bags is much cheaper. Some risks are worth taking, so whatever decision we make the safety of our environment should come first.
Robert Swan once said “The greatest threat to our environment is the belief that someone else will save it”. Therefore, it is up to you and I to step up, hold hands and fight against pollution!