Namibia bans plastic bags in protected areas - A cleaner future lies ahead!

PUBLISHED 16 JAN 2019   

A press event was held 22 November 2018 at Daan Viljoen Game Park on the outskirts of Windhoek, where Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Pohamba Shifeta announced the official ban of plastic carrier bags from all Protected Areas in Namibia as from 22 Nov 2018. If this law is not adhered to a spot fine of N$500 or 6 months imprisonment can be imposed or both.

 

Source: Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia

The ministry has been working on this project since 2015 and the plastic bag ban in protected areas are only the beginning.

 

Minister Shifeta announced that “this step signifies our serious commitment to control pollution in our country in line with the recently launched National Solid Waste Management Strategy, the fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) and the third UN Sustainable Development Goal on health and well being.

 

He further went on to say; “I would specifically wish to inform the Nation and the tourists visiting our country that plastic bags are banned in our protected areas.

 

The Government Gazette No. 6285 of April 2017 amended the regulations of the Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1975 with the insertion of a new provision that no person shall enter a Game Park or Nature Reserve with a plastic bag.

 

At the entrance of each Government Park in Namibia has waste bins for recycling will be placed so that visitors can dispose of the plastic bags before entering a park.

 

The amendment in the law, however, makes provision for some exceptions such that a person may still enter a Game Park or Nature Reserve with types of plastic bags that:

  • Are designed to be used for the disposal of waste;
  • Are designed for agricultural purposes;
  • Are used for sampling or analysis;
  • Constitute, or form an integral part of, the packaging in which goods are sealed for sale; or
  • Are transparent resealable bags

 

The future is looking brighter (and cleaner) in Namibia, and this is only the beginning of the National Solid Waste Management Strategy. We’ve even seen big retailers making their own effort by encouraging their customers to make use of durable shopping bags instead of plastics bags.