Have you already signed the petition supporting the ban of plastic bags in Zambia? With the current Cholera crisis, some would argue that the petitioners have impeccable timing. The online petition to ban plastic bags in Zambia originated on change.org which is now also being shared on Facebook while the number of supporters also increases.
The petition is addressed to the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Jean Kapata and Minister of Water Development and Sanitation Lloyd Kaziya calls on the two ministers to ban plastic bags as a long term solution to keeping Lusaka clean.
According to the petition website, the petition created on 6th January shows that more that 5,000 people and counting have signed so far.
The argument brought forward is based on the fact that plastic bags littered across have contributed to blockages of drainage systems in the capital. Following their non-biodegradable state, plastic bags are deemed harmful to the environment.
The petition initiated by Benjamin Bush on Change.org reads in part;
“Africa’s environment and its protection should be our number one concern. Plastic bags are killing animals, polluting towns, cities and rivers, causing flooding by clogging storm drains and adding to our current cholera crisis. Simply put, plastic bags are not biodegradable and are leading to our proud country looking like the rubbish tip of Africa.
Even the current drive to tidy up Lusaka since the cholera epidemic is simply a temporary measure and it won’t be long before people start again adding to the pollution of the environment.”
Before the Central Business District (CBD) was cleaned, litter was literally found everywhere (still is in some places) due to lack of proper designated disposing bins.
“We should have a real drive towards recycling too. Lets follow Rwanda’s lead and change the face of our country by banning plastic bags. We can use wicker baskets, recycled paper bags etc. Lets put our children and our planet first!” the petition further read.
Following Tanzania’s ban on plastic bags in 2015, various stakeholders in the country stood up advocating for the ban as well.
The call to ban plastic then was strong on shopping malls suggesting that they introduce paper bags as an alternative to plastic bags.
Speaking with the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), it was observed that the ban advocated for then could not be possible then as it lacked legal backing.
As of today ZEMA revealed that,”a law regulating plastic usage in Zambia has not yet been passed.”
With the petition online increasing will the petition be heard?