The use of plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags will no longer be allowed in Botswana as the Plastic Carrier Bags and Plastic Flat Bags Prohibition Regulations, 2018 will come into operation on the 1st November 2018.
A statement from the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has urged the public that from now until the deadline there should allow for the public and affected industries to put in place environmentally friendly packaging systems or alternatives to the plastic bag.
According to the regulations, the statement says that any person who manufactures, trades, imports, possesses, or for commercial purposes distributes a plastic carrier bag or plastic flat bag for use in Botswana will be committing an offence.
“The ban will however not apply to the following for health and hygiene purposes: a. Bread bag- this refers to plastic bags used for packaging bread, Plastic bin liner- refers to plastic bags used for lining refuse bins or refuse receptacles, Barrier bag-thin or flimsy plastic bag used to separate products at final point of sale and Plastic refuse bag- plastic bag designed for carrying waste,” the statement reads in part.
It also explains that ‘Primary packaging’ refers to plastic packaging that is in direct contact with the product for purposes of containing the product during transportation or handling to the point of distribution or point of use.
The public is further informed that any person contravening the regulations on the prohibition of the plastic carrier bag and plastic flat bag will be committing an offence and will be liable to the following: for a first offender, the plastic carrier bag or the flat bag will be confiscated, for a second or subsequent offence the person will be liable to a fine not exceeding P5, 000.00 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 30 days or both.
“Several attempts have been made in the past to manage or control the proliferation of plastic carrier bags in the environment through various strategies such as public education and awareness on its proper use, recycling and minimisation of its use. Furthermore, compulsory standards were developed to regulate the thickness of the carrier bag.”
Despite all these initiatives the plastic bag continues to be an environmental nuisance with negative impact on the environs and domestic animals, thus eventually the decision to ban or prohibit its use in Botswana by Cabinet.
The move to implement the ban of plastic carrier/flat bag follows long consultations (over a number of years) with stakeholders both Government and private sector.