By Muhammed Sailu Bah Plastic bag manufacturers and producers of packaged water have now ceased operations following the coming into effect of the ban on plastic bags on Wednesday, 1 July 2015. This reporter has been making the rounds within the Greater BanjulArea to observe the impact of this executive directive on those who were involved in the manufacture and use of plastic bags. Visiting Banjul yesterday, it was confirmed that 3 water packaging businesses have stopped operating due to the ban. One of the proprietors of the installation said he spent more than one hundred thousand dalasi to purchase his machine. He said he is now forced to close down without recovering from the investment. “I will be relocating my business to Bissau where there is no ban in place,” he disclosed. At Gamplast company in Kanifing, which used to manufacture plastic bags of different types, this reporter found the place closed. The two caretakers who were met at the entrance explained that the plant was closed well before the date the ban was supposed to take effect. They said the manager has travelled and that all the employees are laid off. Talking to this reporter earlier, the Manager of the Company had revealed that they have 50 employees in their payroll. He said the Company produces industrial packaging and other plastic products for water and beverages. Banka Janka, the Manager of the water packaging NAAN Company at Busumbala, confirmed that they have stopped production. He said their 10 employees are no longer working. Muhammad Diye Jallow, the owner of MDN water packaging business, also explained similar problems he is facing. He added that immediately before the announcement of the ban, he had already purchased a very large quantity of plastic bags which could not be exhausted. “Now that I have ceased operations, I don’t know what to do with my packaging machine and this large quantity of plastic bags?” he asked. When Foroyaa contacted Mr. Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, Assistant Program Officer, Environmental Education and Communication at the National Environment Agency (NEA), to enquire more about the nature, objective and implications of the directive banning the importation, manufacture and use of plastic bags in the country, he promised to provide the details on the issues raised. As readers could recall, a press release issued by the president’s office on Monday, 20th April 2015, and read on state television, announced a complete ban on the importation and use of plastic bags in the country. According to the release, “the indiscriminate use of plastic bags in the Gambia poses a serious existentialist threat to the fragile ecosystem of the country and presents an unwarranted environmental eyesore. Plastic bags are also responsible for suffocation deaths of sea and land animals as well as inhibiting soil nutrients.”]]>
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