ZELA and AIEL to hold a Dialogue on Plastic use and regulation in Zimbabwe


01 July 2022

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) through its research arm, the Africa Institute for Environmental Law will on the 7th of July 2022 hold a virtual consultative dialogue to take stock of the policy, legal and institutional development in plastic regulation and identify policy challenges and opportunities.

The dialogue comes against the backdrop of plastic bags proliferation within the formal and the highly informal market in Zimbabwe. Plastic pollution is a global challenge and a major contributor to the triple planetary crisis. The recent adoption of a resolution by the Heads of State for a binding treaty on plastic pollution demonstrates that plastic pollution is posing a serious threat to human and animal life. In 2017, the world plastic pollution was sitting at 348 million tons, and this is expected to double by 2040.[1]From all plastics that are produced worldwide, only 16% is recycled.[2] The majority of non-recyclable plastic ends up in our rivers and oceans. This not only poses a threat to the animals and plants whose habitats have been transformed into floating garbage patches,[3] but also to the climate, as plastic releases greenhouse gases as it decomposes. Open burning of waste is also common in many parts of the world and is a major source of air pollution. Notwithstanding these dangers, the world plastic production continues to increase.

For Zimbabwe, the Government’s Zimbabwe’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (2015) recognizes the need to address plastic waste.[4] In terms of the Plan, 18% of all waste disposed into landfills is classified as plastic waste,[5] the majority being carrier bag plastics.[6] Plastics clog storm drains, causing flash flooding during heavy rains; these were attributed to the 2017 flash floods in Zimbabwe. Plastic carrier bags cause serious environmental hazards which include pollution and a barrier towards the realization of the right to a clean, safe and healthy environment as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.[7] 

To deal with plastic pollution, the government passed the Plastic Bottles and Plastic Packaging Regulations Statutory Instrument 98 of 2010.The Regulations prohibit the manufacturing for use within Zimbabwe, commercial distribution or importation of plastic packaging whether biodegradable or not, with a wall thickness of not less than 30 micrometers.[8] Although the Regulations are commendable, they have not resulted in significant reduction in plastic use in Zimbabwe. Challenges associated with plastic waste are worsened by lack of capacity by state institutions to enforce and implement the legislation and limited knowledge and educational programmes among citizens. Therefore, the planned dialogue seeks to look at the effectiveness of current policy, identify bottlenecks and other policy alternatives.

To be part of the discussion and contribute to this national challenge, register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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