Swakopmund one step closer to regulate the use of shopping bags

The Swakopmund Town Council has paved the way to develop a bylaw to regulate the use of plastic shopping bags. Also, to charge a levy for the use of plastic shopping bags and for the funds to be channelled to a unique environmental fund. The fund was also approved.

According to the agenda, the recently approved environmental fund is in lieu of developing a related bylaw to legislate the use of plastic bags. All funds deposited into the environmental fund will be applied for the funding of various environmental projects. “This will be beneficial to council and the Swakopmund community at large,” it states in the agenda.

The development of a specific bylaw regulating the usage of plastic bags is spearheaded by a newly founded environmental committee, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the NACOMA project, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Otto Herrigel Trust and the Municipality of Swakopmund. The representatives of the municipality include the environmental officer as well as the General Manager: Health Services. The committee will manage projects benefiting from the fund. The idea of charging a nominal fee for a plastic bag has been on the cards since 2009. The idea initially failed after certain stakeholders were not responding positively to the idea. The Swakopmund municipality halted the process, waiting for the City of Windhoek to develop a bylaw all local authorities could use countrywide. Unfortunately, this has not yet transpired. The by-law will oblige supermarkets and businesses to charge customers a fee for plastic bags, in the hope of eliminating the illiterate use of plastic bags and to curb pollution.

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