ZAMBIA – The Zambian government has banned single-use plastic packaging materials and their resultant waste to safeguard the environment, reports Lusaka Times.

The announcement was made by the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection through the principal secretary who said this was in accordance with the environmental management act.

The ban comes as an Extended Producer Regulations which seeks to ensure that producers of a product or class of products are responsible even at the post-consumer stage of the product or class of products.

The principal secretary said the Extended Producer Regulations will also regulate non-returnable glass and plastic bottle, cartons, beverage cans, waste oils, pesticides or chemical containers, used tyres, electrical and electronic equipment.

According to the regulations, an entity whose activities lead to waste generation with potentially adverse effects to the environment will be required to employ essential waste minimization measures.

These measures will include treatment, reclamation, re-use, recovery or recycling of the product or class of products.

He added that the Ministry has since informed stakeholders and the general public that the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has been engaging stakeholders from all sectors of the economy on the content, framework and the way regulations will operate.

The consultation involved key stakeholders in the country which include the Zambia Association of Manufacturers, Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Oil Marketing Companies, Chain Stores and Shopping Centre Managers.

He said that the government will use the regulations as a managing tool to regulate the environmental impact of plastic packaging material and their resultant waste.

With the ban, Zambia has just joined the ongoing global movement of eliminating production and distribution of single-use plastics.

The United Nations Environment efforts to establish policies and programmes focused towards a plastic free continent have yielded measurable results.

The campaign has seen Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania adopting strict regulation measure on the use of plastics.

Food processors have also expressed the need of ensuring environmentally friendly and sustainable operations through adopting plastic reduction strategies.