Somalia Enacts Ban on Single-Use Plastics

Single-Use Plastics

Summary:

  • Somalia has joined the campaign against single-use plastics by issuing a decree to ban them from June 30, 2024.

Somalia has become the latest African nation to prohibit the use of single-use plastics, contributing to the global effort to reduce non-biodegradable packaging materials in the fight against climate change. According to a decree issued by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change on Thursday, the country will enforce the ban on single-use plastics from June 30, 2024, allowing a five-month grace period for importers and users to make necessary adjustments.

A statement from the Ministry notified all stakeholders, including importers, manufacturers, retailers, and commercial establishments, that the importation and use of single-use bags will be prohibited as of the specified date. Somalia emphasized the grace period as an opportunity for businesses involved in plastic production or importation to explore environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic bags. The government plans to collaborate with stakeholders to identify and implement suitable options.

Somalia’s decision is noteworthy as it aligns with other East African Community (EAC) member states, such as Kenya and Rwanda, which have already implemented complete bans on single-use plastics. While Uganda and Tanzania have technically banned such plastics, they have faced challenges in enforcing the ban and preventing smuggling across borders.

Like its EAC counterparts, Somalia’s ban encompasses the production, importation, trading, and distribution of single-use plastics after June 30, 2024. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Khadija Mohamed Al-Makhzoumi, highlighted the move as part of the country’s proactive efforts to address environmental challenges at the local level.

A study by the Geneva Environmental Network has underscored the harmful effects of plastics, which contain toxic chemical additives and pollutants posing threats to human health. These health risks include the potential for cancer, hormonal changes affecting reproduction, growth issues, and cognitive impairment.

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