Zambia joins the fight against destructive plastics

Faced with increasing amounts of waste, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has proposed the phasing out of plastic bags in the country.

ZEMA Public Relations Officer, Irene Chipili said government would consider the adoption of extended producer responsibility (EPR), a global practice that placed significant obligations on producers to support recycling.

“This would force manufacturers of packaging products to take on the responsibility of preventing waste such as plastics at the source,” Chipili said.

One of the aims of EPR is to give producers incentives to change product design in environmentally benign ways. This includes, making it easier to reuse and recycle products.

Plastic takes around 700 years just to start deteriorating, but clogs up the available area on earth and harms the lives of organisms. Nearly 26 million tons of plastic linger in the ocean each year, according to plasticpollution.org, and at least one million birds die due to ingesting plastic waste regularly.

A recent report conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has calculated that by 2050, the amount of plastic will exceed the amount of fish. According to ellenmacarthurfoundation.org, various types of organisms, especially marine ones, will become extinct without humans attempting to recycle or even completely halt the use of plastics. Not only do plastics devastate habitats, but they have a detrimental effect on humans as drinking water may be contaminated.

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