Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Congo Bans Plastic Bags To Fight Pollution

The Republic of Congo has banned the production, import, sale and use of
plastic bags in a move to fight environmental pollution in the Central
African nation, government spokesman Bienvenu Okiemy said Thursday.

Okiemy said the government adopted a decree following a cabinet meeting
Wednesday. It prohibits the use of plastic bags to pack food, groceries,
water and other beverages.

"For some years now, particularly in urban areas, Congo has witnessed
major environmental pollution caused by discarded plastic bags which
block drainage systems, causing floods and landslides," Okiemy said.

He did not say from when the ban would be effective.

Congo, like many developing nations, lacks adequate waste management and
recycling facilities. The widely used non-biodegradable plastic bags are
strewn about, causing harm to the environment.

Rwanda has led Africa's fight against plastic bags, banning them five
years ago. Other countries have also moved to either ban or limit their
usage.

In December, Italy said it would ban plastic shopping bags while the
European Commission, said in May it was considering a tax or a ban on
plastic bags to cut their use.

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