Zambia push for levy on plastic

20 October, 2010, Danstan Kaunda

Climate change in theoretical terms

“In order to promote environmental-friendly behavior and discourage the use of these plastic bags, I propose to introduce an excise duty on these bags at the rate 10 percent. This duty will not apply to paper bags, which are biodegradable,” Dr. Musokotwane told National Assembly in his 2011 national budget presentation.

He said this duty will help government generate more than Zambian Kwacha ZMK1.8 billion (about US$ 212,000) for the country’s revenue and it will help combat the effort of climate change.[frax09alpha]

In most shopping centers in the country, plastic bags are provided free of charge to shoppers. This, the minister said, caused harm to the environment by littering townships and blocking drainage systems.

“I understand the priority for people in the country is jobs creation, but this is an increasingly important issue,” Dr. Mussokotwane told the New Science Journalism Project in an interview.

Environmental experts argue the Zambia weather has been unusual as wet months grow rainier and the annual arid season becomes more dry.
“This is not climate change in theoretical terms,” Mwamba Mwamba an environmental expert said. “We see it now in the lives people are living.”

He believes that also introducing incentives such as offering reward points at the checkout is the best way to effect change in behavior toward the use of plastic bags in shopping malls.

Zambia generates tens of thousands of plastic yet it has no firm dealing in recycling of biodegradable items.

Climate scientists say the world should brace for extreme weather as the atmosphere absorbs more exhaust.

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