War declared on plastic bags

28 November 2018 | Environment

The environment ministry will step up efforts to enforce the ban on plastic bags in national parks in the coming months.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has urged tourists and the general public to comply with the new regulations or face the wrath of the law.

Shifeta was speaking at the announcement of the plastic ban at Daan Viljoen National Park last week.

He said Government Gazette No. 6285 of April 2017 amended the regulations of the Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1975 with the insertion of a new provision that no person may enter a game park or nature reserve with a plastic bag.

The amendment makes provision for exceptions for certain types of plastic bags. These are bags designed for the disposal of waste, for agricultural purposes, for sampling or analyses, and transparent, resealable bags. Also exempt is sealed plastic packaging that forms an integral part of goods for sale.

“A person who contravenes this ban is liable to a fine not exceeding N$500, or to imprisonment not exceeding six months, or to both such a fine and such imprisonment,” said Shifeta.

He called on all tour operators, tourism associations and the Namibia Tourism Board to convey this message to tourists.

Shifeta said Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) must stop offering plastic bags to customers in protected areas and offer alternatives.

According to Shifeta the ministry is in developing signage that will be placed at the entrances to all protected areas.

He said the increasing numbers of tourists and the increasing amounts of waste being generated pose a threat to the ecology of protected areas.

“We therefore believe that the health and image of these most important areas for biodiversity and tourism will be enhanced through this ban.

According to him Namibia is coming closer to reaching its goal of banning all plastic bags.

He said the ministry was still working on introducing a levy on plastic shopping bags and on banning the importation of plastic bags from other countries.

ELLANIE SMIT

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