ZEMA recommends gradual ban on use of plastics in Zambia

FILE: Some Lusaka residents joined with Defence and Security wings in cleaning the Central Business District

FILE: Some Lusaka residents joined with Defence and Security wings in cleaning the Central Business District

The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has recommended a gradual ban on the use of plastics in the country.

ZEMA Director General, John Msimuko said the gradual ban can be achieved through enacting the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations as one way of managing packaging materials such as plastics which eventually end up as waste.

Mr. Msimuko stated that Section 58 of the Environmental Management Act No. 12 of 2011(EMA) provides for EPR and demands that very producer be responsible for their waste.

He disclosed that ZEMA concluded the stakeholder’s consultative process for the enactment of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and awaits finalization of the regulations through the relevant government processes.

This is contained in a press statement issued to the media in Lusaka yesterday.

“ZEMA and other stakeholders both public and private are currently engaged in processes aimed at ensuring the gradual phase out of plastics in Zambia is implemented soon,” Mr. Msimuko said.

Mr. Msimuko further said the Agency looks forward to finalization of the EPR legislation in addressing continued concerns on use of plastic bags and plastic packaging materials as it will go a long way in improving the responsibility of manufacturers of such products in waste management.

ZEMA was established under the Environmental Management Act of 2011 whose role is to advise on policy formulation and make recommendations for the sustainable management of the environment.


  1. Just this week ZEMA said it won’t ban the use of plastics coz it “might kill the recycling industry”… Now you are coming out soft with a “gradual ban”? Just Ban use of PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS or CARRIER BAGS immediately! These are the major polluting items. Govt. should try to empower the youths to turn plastic waste into building materials, like some woman in Kenya (www.ecopost.co.ke).

  2. This ZEMA is a bunch of Jokers. They cannot regulate anything. Look at the pollution gong on in the Mining Industry(KCM in particular). Kafue river is overpolluted and continues to be polluted.

  3. Reducing the amount of plastic use should be the aim of every country because once plastic is introduced into the environment, it’s difficult to get rid of without causing pollution. This is why I believe this gradual ban is a good idea. Many things can be done by our regulatory bodies to reduce plastic waste e.g putting a charge to plastic bags at shopping points to encourage people to reuse or rather buy reusable shopping bags.
    The EPR is another great idea that we all hope is implemented.

  4. Gradually reducing the use of plastic shopping bags is like a person attempting to gradually quit smoking cigarettes. The damage plastic bags inflict on the environment continues just as tobacco does damage to the human body. Countries that succeeded to ban the use of shopping plastic bags, took a bold decision and stopped the practice immediately. I would strongly advise ZEMA to take a leaf from Rwanda and recently Kenya on ban of plastic shopping bags. The evidence of success is there on the ground. No one will die. Just give manufacturers and importers enough notice to phase plastics and don’t keep shifting the deadline.

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