The Zambia Development Agency believes the resolution to ban the use of disposable plastic bags will stimulate the manufacture of durable alternatives that are environmentally sustainable.
ZDA Director General Perry Mapani says the Agency expects the ban to increase value addition within the timber industry as a result of a growth in paper-based packaging.
Mr. Mapani said the regulation is further expected to encourage innovation in the handicraft 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 will 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.
“The growth of this sector will support manufacturing companies that spend over USS$ 30 million annually on imported packaging products. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 65 of 2018, which encourages manufacturers to extend their responsibility on products beyond consumption, will stimulate innovation, diversification and competitiveness in the manufacturing sector,” elaborated Mr. Mapani.
He said the Agency is further poised to attract investments in the manufacture of other durable alternative shopping bags to be used in place of disposable bags.
Mr. Mapani said in addition, this ban has the potential to assist the Country in creating a reputation of being a clean tourist paradise that would boost the Tourism Sector which is one of the priority sectors in Zambia.
He has since urged Zambians to support the new regulation, as it is illogical to continue producing products that are used once, yet they pollute the environment indefinitely.
Mr. Mapani said this action is necessary to prevent welfare losses from this and future generations of Zambians.
He said the Agency is delighted that this ban will also go a long way in actualizing the objectives of the ‘Keep Zambia Clean’ campaign.
On 3rd December 2018, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency informed the Nation that Statutory Instrument number 65 of 2018 took effect on 3rd August 2018.
According to legal provisions, a 180 days allowance was given with effect from the aforementioned date.
This means that all manufacturers of packaging materials should be registered with ZEMA by the 14th of February 2019 when the Extended Producer Responsibility takes effect.