On the 4th August 2017, the Environmental Economics Network of Namibia held its 9th After-Work Talk on “The introduction of plastic bag levy – an option for Namibia?’’
Following the EENN After-Work Talk panel discussion, Waste management specifically focusing on recycling of plastic shopping bags and introducing a plastic bag levy has been featured in various media outlets such as Local newspapers and the National Broadcasting television channels.
The Allgemeine Zeitung, a local newspaper, published an article titled “Gift for man and beast: Ban or charge? – How to win the fight against the plastic flood on the 11th August 2017. In the article, the EENN After-Work Talk plastic bag levy discussion was also referenced to.
According to the article, Namibia is considered by many to be lagging behind. Rwanda and South Africa, where plastic bags have already been banned or cost money, are regarded as pioneers. Before the ban, the cities in Rwanda were littered with plastic waste. Today, the country is a model for neighbouring countries like Uganda – and even for Europe.
As the discussion on plastic waste management expanded, the Namibia Broadcasting Cooperation, through its Good Morning Namibia show interviewed Mr Benedict Libanda, the Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Investment Fund on the 16th August 2017 on how the introduction of a plastic bag levy will reduce littering. Mr. Benedict Libanda was as well part of the EENN panel discussion. During the interview, Mr Libanda said that there is a need for Namibians to change their attitude and how they dispose plastic bags. Mr Libanda indicated that the EIF has done extensive research on how to best deal with plastic litter. Recommendations from the study are to follow a market based approach by proposing a levy, finding alternative packaging and extend producer responsibility. Mr Libanda further stated that the revenue collected from such a levy will be used for projects that improve environmental conditions and sustainability.
On the 21st August 2017, the Republikein newspaper also included (published) an article on women recycling old plastic bags to generate income. The group of women from Otjomuise meet every Friday at the Mammadu Center to receive plastic bags and other recyclable materials and then work at their homes. “ The idea is that the materials are freely availed to the women and they will sell the items and make a 100% profit, said Röhm founder of the Mammadu Trust. They also manufacture items according to customers’ specifications and orders. Gondwana Collections ordered 150 of the table mats for its Etosha Safari Camp. Currently, the articles are sold at the Mammadu Center in Otjomuise, Wecke & Voigts and at Etosha Safari Camp.
Plastic shopping bags, however, are ultimately the only representative of a general problem, which is left behind not only in Namibia, but worldwide.
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