Botswana has joined the rapidly growing list of nations and private organisations that have declared war on plastic waste. The deputy director of the Botswana Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, Frank Molaletsi, has confirmed that plastic packets and grocery bags will be banned from 1 November 2018.
This environmental initiative from the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism stems from multiple previous attempts to manage and control the waste from plastic shopping bags. The Botswana government has tried to limit the pollution from plastic waste for several years, leading them to call for an end to plastic packets.
Molaletsi explains plastic grocery bags are made from ethanol and chlorofluorocarbons which are harmful to the environment and human health. Grocery packets are not biodegradable and if they are not disposed of properly, can stay in the environment for decades.
This pollution not only poses a threat to waterways and aquatic life, but domestic animals such as goats and cattle often eat the packets while grazing. This can lead to death and a loss of livelihood for many residents who depend on livestock for their survival.
Molaletsi states that anyone found using or selling the plastic grocery bags after 1 November could be fined up to P5000 (~R6500) or face a 30-day prison sentence. This hard stance shows that the government of Botswana is serious about curbing plastic waste and pollution.
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