Maputo — The Mozambican government is considering a ban on importing used plastic containers because of the danger of them being contaminated with toxic chemicals. The government is concerned that people buy these empty containers in informal markets and use them for storing food and water.
Most imported containers come from neighbouring countries, particularly South Africa, reports Monday's issue of the daily newspaper "Noticias".
According to Samson Cuamba of the national directorate of environmental management, the ban would be part of an integrated approach by the Environment Ministry to the management of obsolete pesticides and contaminated packaging materials.
Cuamba explained that "Mozambique is a signatory to the Basel Convention on the movement of hazardous waste, which prohibits the entry of these products into countries that are unable to ensure their proper management, as is the case with Mozambique".
Cuamba said that "one option is to strengthen the law by adopting a regulation which explicitly prohibits importing such containers. Many people are unaware of the risk they pose to health".
Cuamba added that there is currently a nationwide program to collect and dispose of packaging contaminated with pesticides.
Many of these containers are stored in Umbeluzi in Maputo province, at the Agricultural Training Centre in Sofala province and the Agricultural Centre in Nampula province. These containers were used during the previous campaign to collect pesticides.
The Environment Ministry is currently putting together a list of recycling companies in Mozambique so that the collected containers can be reused.