Friday, September 11, 2015


Resultado de imagem para consumers will have to pay for the plastic bagsMozambican consumers will have to pay for the plastic bags that used to be distributed free of charge in shops and markets, and the government is now discussing a fixed price with the producers of plastic.At a meeting in Maputo on Wednesday, the Deputy Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Ana Senda, discussed with companies that make plastic bags and with traders the government’s recently approved regulations to manage and control the ubiquitous bags. The government hopes to discourage the indiscriminate use of plastic bags and thus protect the environment.Senda said discussions with companies sought to establish the cost of producing the bags, and on that basis a price will be set for selling them. Consumers have become used to receiving the bags for nothing at most (but not all) shops for many years.The government regulations, which will have the force of law early next year, six months after they were published in the official gazette, the “Boletime da Republica”, ban the free distribution of plastic bags. The staff at shops and other sales outlets must now ask consumers whether they want plastic bags, and if they do, must charge for them. At the check-out, staff must inform consumers of the cost of plastic bags, and this sum must be shown on the receipts.The government decree bans the import and sale of plastic bags that are less than 30 micrometres thick (this covers the thin black paper bags, so many of which end up in the Maputo drainage system). Exceptions to this rule are the plastic bags used to weigh foodstuffs, and those specifically used to hold urban solid waste.Recycled plastic is regarded as a health hazard. No plastic bag with a recycled content of more than 40 per cent may be used in establishments that handle foodstuffs.Senda told the Wednesday meeting that meetings are being held to make traders aware of the new regulations. “We are going to the markets with a programme to make them aware of the changes”, she said. “We are going to the large supermarkets and the small supermarkets. We shall also go to the bakers’ associations, since we know that many plastic bags are used in the bakeries”.The government is encouraging, as alternatives, the use of bags or baskets made of other material (such as paper, straw or cloth). Senda said there is great potential for expanding the use of straw baskets, which could encourage the growth of an artisanal industry.Although the makers of plastic bags said they are willing to obey the new regulations, the South African supermarket chain, Shoprite, raised some objections. Shoprite representative Maria Rodriguez claimed there would be difficulties in limiting the use of plastic bags.“We tried to sell plastic bags, but we had to retreat, and continue to give them away”, she claimed. “Since we will now have to sell the bags again, it would be very good to regulate this”.The Shoprite supermarket in Maputo caters for about 3,000 clients a day, and on average they each take more than two plastic bags.Senda said the decision to restrict the use of plastic bags is “irreversible”. Indeed, were it possible, the government would have banned plastic bags completely. Instead, it had opted for gradual elimination, and compulsory sale of the bags, in the hope that this would raise citizens’ awareness of the need to protect the environment.

0 comentários:

Post a Comment