Chain stores get reprieve on plastic bags

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LINDA SOKO TEMBO Writes

@SunZambian

THE Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has granted a reprieve to chain stores to use plastic carrier bags.

In a statement, ZEMA acting Director General, Simon Mwansa, said the stores have been granted an extension of two weeks to clear off non-compliant plastic carrier bags and one month for non-compliant plastic flat bags.

Mr Mwansa said that during the period of the extension, customers could be given both non-compliant plastics bags and alternative bags.

According to Mr. Mwansa, the reprieve follows a request for extension by the various chain stores, namely Shoprite, Game Stores, Cheers Supermarket, Spar, Pick n Pay, Choppies and Food Lovers.

In December last year, ZEMA announced that enforcement of the (EPR) Regulations, under Statutory Instrument No. 65 of 2018 (“the EPR Regulations”), would commence in February 2019.

“The deadline for the registration by existing businesses that manufacture, import, trade in or commercially distribute packaging materials in Zambia specified under the Regulations remains 13th August 2019,” he said.

He said ZEMA remained positive that the implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) would result in minimization of waste and promote a cleaner and healthier environment in the country.

Mr Mwansa named the affected packaging materials as cartons, non-returnable glass and plastic bottles, plastic carrier and flat bags, beverage cans, waste oils and lubricant containers, used lead acid batteries, among others.

As part of this enforcement, the Agency has continued to engage industries that manufacture, distribute, import, trade in or commercially distribute packaging materials listed in the Regulations.

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