ACTION Aid Zimbabwe (AAZ) has implored government to enact tighter legislation to eliminate the use of plastic and adopt biodegradable alternatives.

“AAZ acknowledges the efforts made by the government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) in banning polystyrene food containers as well as introducing a policy that discourages the use of single-use plastic bags,” AAZ said in a statement to mark World Environment Day which is commemorated every year on June 5.

“These policies alone, without commensurate awareness programmes, will not yield the intended results.

“AAZ, therefore, urges the GoZ to enact tighter legislation and awareness programmes aimed at eliminating plastic and boosting the use of biodegradable alternatives.”

AAZ said Zimbabwe should emulate Kenya and Rwanda which successfully reduced the use of plastic by 80-90% through the enactment of laws that prohibit single-use plastic bags.

In 2022, the Zimbabwe Environmental Management Agency (Ema) indefinitely postponed a ban on plastic carrier bag use, which was scheduled to take effect on December 31 last year.

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Government had planned to phase out plastic carrier bags by December 2022 to reduce plastic pollution.

AAZ country director Joy Mabenge, said, annually, over 380 million tonnes of plastic is produced with reports indicating that up to 50% of it is for single-use purposes. 

“The impact of this nearly indestructible material on the environment is immense. As usual, the poor are the most affected,” Mabenge said.

“As ActionAid, we unapologetically stand with the poor and marginalised communities who bear the brunt of environmental degradation across the globe.”

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