Serowe — Central District councillors have welcomed the Ministry of Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism's banning of plastic bags.
Councillors noted while responding to the presentation by the ministry's chief waste management officer, Ms Tshenolo Sechele, at the ongoing Central District Full council session.
They noted in oneness that it was time to end the use of plastics based on the negative impact they contribute to the environment, amid various failed strategies that government had previously put in place.
In her presentation, Ms Sechele indicated that based on negative environmental and public health impact of carrier plastics, the ministry had decided to ban its use effective November 1.
She warned that those in contradiction with the act would be fined P5 000.
"Plastics will be confiscated from those found to be in their possession and first offenders will be warned about the consequences. Those found in possession of such for the second time will pay a penalty of P5 000 or 30 days imprisonment," she said.
She further said they were still developing other laws surrounding the regulation, adding that, those who have the power to implement the regulation, were the Council Bye-Law Officers, Police, BURS personnel, Immigration Officers, and will from time to time engage other relevant offices.
"The decision to ban plastic carrier bags was made following several attempts in the past to manage or control the proliferation of plastic carrier bags in the environment," she said.
Ms Sechele said some of the strategies that have been tried in the past to manage plastics were public education and awareness on proper use of plastics to curb littering, promotion of their reduction, reuse and recycling initiatives and development of compulsory standard based on their thickness but none ever yielded positive and sustainable results.
"Problems associated with plastic in the environment include animals dying from choking when they eat plastic bags and containers.
This also disrupts the digestive process causing bloating and ultimately death of the animal," she said.
She indicated that plastic was not biodegradable, hence once deposited in the soil it stays in the environment for a long period and that, due to its impervious and persistence nature.
Also, plastics hold water and thus create a conducive environment for mosquitoes.
"Plastic also reduce the aesthetic value of the environment as they hang on to trees and other structures.
The micro-plastics enter blood systems of humans and animals causing toxicity," she noted.
Ms Sechele advised that Batswana could find other methods of carrying their goods or groceries such as baskets, paper bags, as it was done in the past.
"This is also a business opportunity to those in business to find creative ways of satisfying the market of carrier bags," she concluded.
Source : BOPA