Africa > Southern Africa > Zimbabwe > Zimbabwe: 'So Many Questions' - Zim Bans Polystyrene, but Are There Alternatives?

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe: 'So Many Questions' - Zim Bans Polystyrene, but Are There Alternatives?

2017/07/17

Zimbabwe says a ban on polystyrene food packaging has come into force with immediate result in a bid to curb environmental and health hazards associated with the material.

But a lot of are wondering if local producers and users of kaylite (as it's known locally) can they find alternatives quickly enough.

In a public notice published on its Facebook page, Zimbabwe's national Environmental Management Agency (EMA) said the ban was "with immediate result".

"The ban has been effected next wide consultation in order to protect the citizens of Zimbabwe from the environmental and health impacts caused by expanded polystyrene," it said.

It cited a government regulation known as SI84, initial published in 2012. The ban was supposed approaching into result in 2016, but at no time did.

This new ban, if enforced, will likely upset Zimbabwe's food industry. Fast food outlets use polystyrene to package their takeaways, and supermarkets use polystyrene punnets to package fresh meat, fruit and vegetables.

On social media on Thursday the ban was a talking point. Some lauded it, while others said enforcement would prove difficult as there are few alternatives offered in the country at the moment.

'Enough notice'

"I have so a lot of questions. Have the manufacturers been given a luck to develop alternatives so they don't go out of business overnight?" asked @RickyMarima on Twitter.

Media watchdog @ZimMediaReview replied: "EMA says the ban has been in place for a while and only being implemented presently, and that businesses were given enough notice."

Said Travis Calder on Facebook: "How about the polystyrene cornice and tiles and other building materials?? How about the protective packaging on ALL appliances coming into Zimbabwe... Clarification anyone... ? Or just an extra clever blanket ban that will be repealed in a month's time... ???"

'Out of business'

A company official from local fast food outlet Chicken Slice said the polystyrene ban would put them out of business.

"Government's announcement that it has instantly effected SI84 becomes very difficult for us to operate since we have been using them (polystyrene containers) for years," Tawanda Mutyebere told the national-run Herald.

"This simply means that we must stop trading, kicking us out of business and Government is supposed to give us some time and should have consulted with stakeholders."

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