Plastic bag levy on the cards 

Lesotho Times
3 Min Read


Bereng Mpaki

CONSUMERS will soon be coughing 50 lisente more for each plastic shopping bag as government moves to introduce a levy to curb usage of the bags that have been blamed for exacerbating environmental pollution.

Tourism, Environment and Culture minister, Likeleli Tampane said the levy had already been approved by cabinet and will soon be tabled before parliament for endorsement before being implemented.

The minister said it was hoped the levy would help in curbing demand and therefore irresponsible use and disposal of the plastic bags which were a high pollution hazard.

“In a bid to control pollution the plastic bag is causing, we are going to introduce an environmental levy for its usage. And we have already submitted regulations to cabinet where they have been approved,” Ms Tampane told the Lesotho Times in an interview.

She said the next step was the tabling of the regulations in parliament for scrutiny by the natural resources parliamentary committee before being implemented.

Ms Tampane said she was hopeful that the levy would come into effect before the end of the year. The levy would be administered by the Lesotho Revenue Authority.

Several countries have phased out the lightweight plastic bags made from high density polyethene plastic, which were given free of charge to customers by stores.

They have been a popular method considered cheap and hygienic for carrying goods.

The general issue with plastic bags is the amount of waste produced and even when disposed of properly, they take many years to decompose and breakdown, generating large amounts of garbage over long periods of time.

Bangladesh became the first country in 2002 to impose a total ban on the plastic bag. Some countries impose a fee per bag. Bans, partial bans and fees have been enacted by some local jurisdictions in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom.

England’s plastic usage is said to have dropped by 85 percent in six months following the introduction of a plastic bag levy.

The number of single use bags handed out reportedly dropped from 7 billion to 500 million within six months of introducing the 5 pence charge.

Concurrently with reduction in lightweight plastic bags, shops in other countries have introduced reusable shopping bags.

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