The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama says his ministry has started taking steps to banish the use of plastic carrier bags in Botswana.
Minister Khama told a media briefing on Tuesday that the government decided to ban the use of plastic carrier bags because of their negative impact on the environment and public health. Khama said consultations with stakeholders, both within the government and private sector had already taken place.
“The process has started and my ministry has embarked on informing Batswana and other stakeholders to prepare and get ready for the ban as well as putting in place alternatives for the plastic carriers/flat bags,” the minister said.
Minister Khama said there’s currently a worldwide drive to make a concerted effort to prevent plastic being a hazard as well as curbing its impact on the environment, citing Rwanda and lately, Kenya, as two such countries. He further said Botswana had previously made several attempts through various strategies such as raising public awareness, urging the public to recycle and keep plastic use to a minimum.
He noted that none of the initiatives yielded any positive and sustainable results.
We excitedly reported about Botswana’s plan to ban plastic last year. However, our bubble was soon burst on learning it wasn’t the first time the government had made such a bold… shall we say promise? With each claim, we keep hoping that this time it will actually happen. When we found out Rwanda and most recently, Kenya had made good on their word, we couldn’t help but wonder what hurdles Botswana has standing in the way of this happening!
Of course, at the moment, Rwanda is Africa’s wonder kid as it continues to shock and marvel observers (YourBotswana included) in equal measure by growing in leaps and bounds. Botswana has shown fantastic growth over the past few decades, but my fear is that we may have become fantastic at paying lip service to all these fantastic ideas that never seem to see the light of day! Or if they are implemented, it takes decades before ultimately happening. My fear is that we’ll one day wake up to find that the rest of Africa’s risen from the ashes and left us far, far behind, in spite of having had a generous head start. My fear is that by then all we may be left hanging onto are the coat-tails of strides we made decades before!