Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
The Environment Management Agency (EMA) is advocating the phasing out of single-use carrier bags as part of strategies to reduce plastic pollution.
At the recently concluded Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), senior EMA officials said the country had imported 394 million kg of plastic this year, of which around 40 million kg was recycled, the remains becoming a source of pollution.
During the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Program held in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier this year, environment ministers from member states decided to establish an intergovernmental negotiating committee tasked with forging a legally binding international agreement to end plastic pollution.
In its draft resolution entitled “End plastic pollution, towards an international legally binding instrument”, the United Nations Environment Assembly said it noted with concern that the high and rapidly increasing levels of plastic pollution plastic are a serious global environmental problem. , negatively impacting the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development.
The assembly said it recognized that plastic pollution includes microplastics and that plastic pollution, in marine and other environments, can be transboundary in nature and must be addressed, and its impacts through a life cycle approach. comprehensive life taking into account national circumstances and capabilities. .
EMA’s head of environmental education and publicity, Ms Amukela Sidange, said the agency was looking at a “soft landing” for companies that produce plastics.
“We want a soft landing for everyone, we advocate for the phasing out of single-use bags and multi-use and eco-friendly bags,” Ms Sidange said. She expressed concern about the attitude of Zimbabweans, especially those in public service vehicles traveling to South Africa or Botswana.
Ms Sidange said it was amazing that, while staying on the Zimbabwean side, passengers strewn around the environment haphazardly, but did not do the same once on the other side of the border.
Speaking to our sister newspaper Sunday News, Ms Sidange revealed that plastic was now considered a hazardous material, with farmers losing some of their livestock who would have eaten plastic, while flash floods were also blamed on clogging storm sewers by plastic materials.
“Plastics are now considered a hazardous substance and we say as an agency, we are concerned about the level of pollution in our own country,” Ms Sidange said.
EMA research shows that the main sources of plastic pollution include buses, homes, restaurants, industry and schools and the agency has embarked on a campaign to shut off the tap.
Ms Sidange said the agency had a number of advocacy programs aimed at getting as many citizens as possible to buy calls to be environmentally friendly.