THE Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has proposed that there should be a gradual phasing out in the use of plastic bags and that the Government should adopt the use of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to help phase them out.
ZEMA public relations officer Irene Chipili said the use of EPR, which was a responsibility of the producer to see that the packaging product produced was disposed of properly, would help in phasing out the use of plastic bags.
“With the use of EPR, manufacturers of packaging products will all be forced to be responsible in the packaging of products. Their responsibility will not only end at selling, but will continue even into the communities where the products are sold to ensure their packages are disposed of nicely,” she said.
Ms Chipili said the law should recommend the thickness and encourage a cost like is done in South Africa where carrier bags are taxed.
She said there should be a mandate that would make producers responsible for their package products because they too were responsible for the waste caused by their products.
Ms Chipili said in terms of economic value, there was a need to put up incentives like was done on scrap metal and the Coca-Cola bottle where people went around collecting used bottles and later sold them to earn a living.
She said the principle that the manufacturers of the Coca-Cola bottle did create a livelihood and that if other packaging manufacturing companies went about it, people would see less plastic and other packaging waste.
Ms Chipili said as ZEMA, they were looking at the bigger picture, which was beyond phasing out of carrier bags alone and that other packaging manufacturing companies needed to be responsible for their products.
Ms Chipili further said looking at drainage, it was found that most waste was that of plastics and other packaging products, which meant that all packaging manufacturing companies needed to be responsible.