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New bans on plastic bags and takeaway boxes

wasteBiodegradable plastic bags and takeaway boxes will soon be introduced in Seychelles with the aim of reducing fossil fuel plastic bags and styrofoam takeaway boxes currently in use, and eventually do away with them completely.

The Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Didier Dogley gave these details earlier this week during a meeting with the press at his office at Le Chantier Mall.

He noted that these are part of measures being taken to reinforce the existing waste management policy.

Also present at the meeting was the principal secretary for environment Alain Decommarmond, representatives of Landscape and Waste Management Agency (LWMA), other ministerial departments, the Seychelles Trading Company (STC), and local non-governmental organisations (NGO) such as Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S), and SIDS Youth AIMS Hub (SYAH).

In 2007 a policy was introduced to ban flimsy plastic bags and a R1 levy per plastic bag was put in place to be paid by customers.

Now the ministry has been working on new measures that need to be taken to reinforce the policy.

Minister Dogley said it is time to move ahead as they are exploring ways to put into place a ban on fossil fuel plastic bags and styrofoam takeaway boxes.

This will be done by introducing plastic bags and takeaway boxes made from renewable vegetable material. The plastic bag is made from potato starch which is an organic material and 100% biodegradable and the takeaway box is made from sugar cane.

“We understand that we cannot do away totally with plastic bags, we will have to keep certain types for meat or fish so we will probably keep looking in the possibility of keeping those types but at the same time we will be looking at using these biodegradable bags,” the minister said.

He said if such bags are left in the environment they should biodegrade within six months and they will no longer contaminate our soil or block our drainage systems.

Within the next few months the ministry will be working with importers to set a timeline to eventually have these fossil fuel plastic bags out of the system and have the biodegradable ones introduced.

As for the styrofoam or polystyrene takeaway boxes that we are using, Minister Dogley said they release a chemical when hot food is put in them and when they are heated in the microwave, something which is dangerous to our health.

Plastic plates and cups used at parties will eventually also be banned and those made out of paper or recyclable ones will be introduced.

During the meeting, Minister Dogley also talked about the recent ‘Clean Up the World Campaign’ which he said saw a “massive turnout and went beyond our expectations.”

However, he also pointed out that his ministry along with the LWMA will review the programme so that next year there is less waste to collect.

For her part, LMWA chief executive Lena Desaubin noted that during the campaign there was a considerable increase in electrical items like refrigerators, washing machines, cookers to name but some.

“During three consecutive days, on Mahe we collected 668 tons of waste and on Praslin 565 tons. We same amount remains to be collected on Mahe,” she said.

She pointed out that this is a very expensive procedure as trucks need to be rented out and 18 trucks were mobilised along with the help of prisoners and LWMA staff.

As part of this year’s Clean Up the World campaign, a waste free event was initiated on Sunday at Anse Royale.

“Our plan is to develop that further so that in the future Seychelles will have waste free events. We’ll be doing the same thing again next year but on a larger scale where we would have a family event on the Sunday of every ‘Clean Up the World’ weekend so that we can promote the best way to manage waste at home and in other places,” Minister Dogley said.

Source : Seychelles NATION

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