YOUTHS who are doing a business of manufacturing baskets in Lusaka have appealed to the Government to come up with more avenues for encouraging the growth of the Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs) and discourage shoppers to use plastic bags which are harmful to the environment.
The youths urged the Government to consider providing funding to for them to expand their business and also encourage the people to use baskets more than plastic bags to protect the environment.
Speaking on behalf of the youths, David Phiri said discouraging the use of plastic bags for the purpose of shopping would help solve the environmental challenges being experienced in the country as a result of rampant use of plastic and other disposable carriers people use to carry items from the market.
Mr Phiri said in an interview that Government should deliberately consider giving loans specifically for the small scale basket dealers for them to buy more materials.
Government should make a deliberate policy to encourage people making baskets so that they produce more if the issue of environmental degradation was to be solved.
"Other countries in the region are encouraging the use of permanent carriers like baskets as the way of avoiding environmental degradation," Mr Phiri said.
He said it was difficult for the youths who do not have knowledge on how to write project proposals to access money through Youth Empowerment Fund adding that there was need for the Government to carry a research to know which sectors were critical in reducing environmental challenges.
Innocent Chongo, who works with Mr Phiri at Kafue Road-side, said there was need for the Government through the councils to compel the people to start using baskets if the challenge of environmental degradation was going to be drastically reduced.