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THE resolution to ban the use of disposable plastic bags will stimulate the manufacturing of durable alternatives that are environmentally sustainable, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has said. 

ZDA director general Perry Mapani yesterday said ZDA expected the ban to increase value addition within the timber industry as a result of a growth.

Mr Mapani said in paper-based packaging, the regulation was also expected to encourage innovation in the handicraft sub-sector aimed at producing attractive, fashionable, yet durable carrier bags using local biodegradable materials while creating more jobs.

He explained that the opportunities to be created by the new regulation would establish a vibrant and robust recycling sub-sector that will utilise locally generated waste to create profits, new environmentally-friendly products, and more jobs for Zambians.

“The growth of this sector will support manufacturing companies that spend over USS$30 million annually on imported packaging products. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 65 of 2018, which encourages manufacturers to extend their responsibility on products beyond consumption, will stimulate innovation, diversification and competitiveness in the manufacturing sector.

“Further, the agency is poised to attract investments in the manufacturing of other durable alternative shopping bags to be used in place of disposable bags,” Mr Mapani said.

In addition, Mr Mapani said, the ban had the potential to assist the country in creating a reputation of being a clean tourist paradise that would boost the tourism sector which is one of the priority sectors in Zambia.

“In this regard, the agency urges all Zambians to support the new regulation, as it is illogical to continue producing products that are used once, yet they pollute the environment indefinitely. This action is necessary to prevent welfare losses from this and future generations of Zambians,” he said.

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