The Namibian government has taken a significant stride towards protecting the environment and promoting entrepreneurship by initiating plans to ban single-use plastics by the end of this year.
Recognising the detrimental environmental effects of single-use plastic and the economic opportunities presented by recyclable alternatives, Namibia aims to pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future.
This article looks at the environmental consequences of single-use plastics, highlights the potential benefits of transitioning to recyclable solutions, and sheds light on Namibia’s proactive stance in addressing the global concern of plastic pollution.
The impact of single-use plastic on the environment is well-documented.
A report by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), titled ‘Turning Off the Tap’ reveals that adopting policies to end the production and use of single-use plastic could result in an 80% reduction in plastic pollution by 2040.
This staggering statistic demonstrates the urgent need for action.
Plastic pollution disrupts natural habitats and processes, affecting ecosystems and biodiversity.
Furthermore, it poses a threat to the livelihoods, food production capabilities and the social well-being of millions of people worldwide.
Economic Costs of Plastic Pollution:
Plastic pollution incurs significant social and economic costs.
Namibia’s environment minister, Pohamba Shifeta, highlights that the global costs of plastic pollution range between US$300 billion and US$600 billion a year.
These costs stem from various factors such as cleaning up polluted areas, health issues caused by plastic waste, and the negative impact on the tourism and fishing industries.
By addressing plastic pollution, Namibia has an opportunity to mitigate these economic burdens and redirect resources towards sustainable economic development.
Recognising the magnitude of the issue, the United Nations Environment Assembly (Unea-5.2) adopted a resolution to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.
The aim is to complete negotiations by the end of 2024.
Namibia, being directly affected by single-use plastics, is actively engaged in the dialogue to address this pressing issue.
The government’s commitment to these global efforts demonstrates Namibia’s dedication to environmental preservation and sustainable development.
The transition from single-use plastic to recyclable alternatives presents significant opportunities for entrepreneurship and job creation.
As plastic carrier bags currently cost around N$1,50 each, this ban opens avenues for the production and sale of more sustainable and affordable alternatives.
Entrepreneurs can venture into the manufacturing of biodegradable bags, reusable containers and packaging materials.
This not only reduces environmental harm, but also stimulates economic growth.
Moreover, the promotion of recycling infrastructure and practices creates employment opportunities in waste management, collection and recycling industries.
Namibia’s decision to ban single-use plastics and encourage the use of recyclable materials signals a commitment to sustainability.
The government must now foster collaboration between relevant stakeholders, including businesses, local communities, and environmental organisations to ensure a smooth transition.
Public awareness campaigns can educate citizens about the harmful effects of single-use plastics and promote the adoption of sustainable alternatives. Furthermore, the government can provide incentives and support to businesses investing in eco-friendly practices, encouraging innovation and responsible entrepreneurship.
Namibia aims to reduce plastic pollution, preserve its unique natural habitats, and stimulate economic growth through entrepreneurship and employment creation.
The global concern over plastic pollution has gained momentum, with international efforts underway to address this pressing issue.
Namibia’s active engagement demonstrates the country’s commitment to being part of the solution.
As we move towards a plastic-free future, it is crucial for individuals, businesses and governments worldwide to unite in creating a sustainable and thriving planet for future generations.
- Taljaard Uaputauka is a teacher, motivational speaker, internationally certified transformation and cognitive behaviour therapy (cbt) life coach and menstrual health and hygiene management advocate for Namibia; email@example.com