Campaign against plastic bags intensifies

Niël Terblanché

In an effort to reinforce environmental conservation efforts, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism has reiterated its commitment to discouraging the use of plastic shopping bags across Namibia, a policy aimed at mitigating the detrimental effects these items have on the ecosystem.

Pohamba Shifeta, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism shed light on the renewed effort during the inauguration of the Fourth Sustainable Development Awards

He said that getting rid of plastic bags altogether is a significant step in the nation’s journey towards ecological preservation.

The genesis of this environmentally conscious campaign dates back to 2019 when the Ministry of Finance took a decisive step by amending the Environmental Management Act to include an environmental levy of 50 cents on all plastic shopping bags.

This levy, primarily aimed at reducing the proliferation of plastic bags, has been a critical component of Namibia’s broader strategy to curtail pollution and foster a culture of sustainability.

However, the issue of retail outlets charging more than the stipulated 50 cents for plastic bags has emerged as a point of contention.

Addressing this concern, Shifeta clarified that the decision to exceed the gazetted amount rests with individual retail establishments.

This approach is seen as an additional measure to dissuade consumers from opting for plastic bags, thereby reinforcing the government’s commitment to a plastic-free environment.

The harmful impact of plastic bags on the environment cannot be overstated. They contribute significantly to land and marine pollution, posing a threat to wildlife and leading to the degradation of natural habitats.

By championing the reduction of plastic bag usage, Namibia aligns itself with global efforts to combat environmental pollution and promote sustainable living practices.

This initiative is a testament to the Namibian government’s resolve to address environmental challenges head-on.

Through the implementation of the environmental levy and the active discouragement of plastic bag use, Namibia sets a precedent for environmental stewardship, highlighting the critical role of policy in achieving sustainable development goals.

Shifeta called on citizens and businesses to embrace alternatives to plastic bags and contribute to the creation of a healthier, more sustainable environment for future generations.

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