THE manufacture for use within Zimbabwe, commercial distribution, or importation
of plastic packaging with a wall thickness of less than 30 microns remains banned.
The ban follows the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 98 of 2010 (Plastic
Packaging and Plastic Bottles Regulations).
Despite, the existence of these regulations the Agency has noted with concern the
recurrence of thin plastics particularly amongst informal traders, vendors and some
The use of thin plastics is a threat to our environment because they are non –
degradable and therefore can persist in the environment for so long. They break
down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways and enter the
food chain where animals can accidentally ingest them. Human beings also can be
affected when drinking water from the contaminated waterways.
They are not reusable, they easily break down and end up becoming an eyesore
along streets and open spaces. Manufacturers of plastic packaging, retailers and
wholesalers should put in place strategies to stop the commercial distribution of thin
plastics in line with Statutory Instrument 98 of 2010.
As plastics never completely disintegrate, they can block the drains and hamper the
smooth flow of water along storm drains and bridges. This has been found to cause
flooding in the extreme rainy season. They do so by clumping with other waste
material and blocking the normal flow of water. Additionally, they block water,
making it a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, and mosquitoes, creating
significant risk to the people living in the area.
Using plastic carrier bags, like many of our habits, stemmed from convenience. It is
now a culture we should collectively address starting at household and institutional
levels. However, as our use of plastic bags has grown, the environmental impacts
that comes along have ballooned.
Continuing to raise awareness of the environmental challenges that single-use
plastics pose and available alternatives will help to reduce our dependence on this
product. Highlighting the benefits of efforts like use of a shopping bag and
illustrating the ease and convenience of bringing your own bag will help further
combat this growing ecological problem.
Plastics have integrated themselves flawlessly into our lives with the notion of
increased convenience. However, these seemingly forgettable and insignificant
products collectively have a disastrous impact, as we have seen. Again, globally we
consume over one trillion plastic bags each year – a worrisome number that calls for
collective mindset shift and action to curb plastic pollution. As we seek to reduce
waste in our lives and live a more sustainable lifestyle, we must be conscious of
products like the plastics.
These environmental tips are brought to you by the Environmental Management
Agency, Mashonaland West Province. For further information visit our Offices in all
the Districts of the province. You can also contact us on 08080028, like us on
Facebook page Environmental Management Agency or visit our website
www.ema.co.zw. We are ready to listen.