By Muhammad Sailu Bah As the ban on plastic bags in the Gambia took effect yesterday, 1 July 2015, people who were dealing with these products as well as the consumers using them are now left without a substitute but to comply with the order.On the eve of the ban, a press release was issued by The National Environment Agency (NEA) urging everyone to comply with it and for those who were doing business in plastic bags to register with them and declare the quantities in their possession. This reporter went round in Banjul and some parts of the Kanifing Municipality yesterday, Wednesday, 1 July, to see how the ban is impacting on business and to also get the opinion of some of the users of plastic bags. At the Banjul Albert Market, one can see the plastic bags still in use as women and other shoppers carry them as containers. Some small shops or canteens also have them hanging either for their customers or for sale. Mbye Jeng, a foodstuff vendor, said the ban will impact negatively on his business as he sells in retail quantities of which plastic bags are crucial as customers use them as containers. “I have been using the plastic bags as container for cooking oil and other foodstuff I sell on retail,” he revealed. A cereal vendor, Alieu Gaye, who is in his 70s, made similar remarks, adding that a substitute to plastic bags should be introduced to make their business easy. Similar observation was also made in Serekunda in the vicinity of the central market as plastic bags are still in use by customers. A lady who sells the delicacy called ‘Ebbeh’ said they will be hard hit by this ban as the majority of their customers use it as container for the food which they often eat while walking in the streets. The street corner shopkeepers and ice block sellers are also among the bevy of small economic operators or traders whose businesses will be affected, especially when it comes to retail goods such as rice, sugar, local juice, etc. This reporter visited the NEA head office at Kanifing to talk to the Executive Director on the issue but was told that both the director and the deputy were out at the time. However, the request for an interview was made with the Secretary. Foroyaa will, however, be giving updates on the issue.]]>
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