ZEMA plans ‘plastic surgery’

ZAMBIA Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) says it is considering banning low-density plastics in an effort to have a clean environment.
ZEMA principle inspector Chrispin Simwanza told the Sunday Times in an interview at the agency’s stand at the ongoing 91st (ACSZ) that plastics bags were an environmental nuisance and that needed to be replaced by paper bags.
He said while not every form of plastic because some types were critical components of materials used in in construction, waste management as well as the communication sector, some types, such as those used for carrying away shopping could be replaced with more environment friendly materials.
“When you look at syringes in hospitals, water tanks, big water pipes in PVC form and they help, so it is not correct to say plastics must be banned but the packaging type, which mostly happens in super markets,” he said.
Mr Simwanza said ZEMA was deeply concerned at the incorrect use of plastic bags whose indiscriminate disposal was responsible for causing communal problems such as blockage of drainage systems.
“Countries like Rwanda have done it and their environment is clean. We can also put a fee to plastic bags to discourage the misuse of plastics which can be done by super markets by selling plastic bags,” he said.
He explained that there are provisions in the Environmental Management Act for producers to be responsible in the way they packaged products with plastics.
Mr Simwanza appealed to members of the public to consider using shopping baskets and paper bags like it was some years ago when one would use them for shopping and that the environment was clean.
“You find someone shopping and wants a plastic for each item they buy which is not good and just after reaching home, those plastics will be thrown away causing environmental problems,” he added.
He also warned that any individual or organisation found disposing plastics indiscriminately causing blockage of drainage and other community facilities will be dealt with in accordance with the law as ZEMA was the environmental regulator mandated by law.

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