Impact of plastic bags highlighted

Support for move to reduce plastic bags

26 November 2018 | Local News

Angela Burrell; Otto Herigel Trust project manager; “The idea to introduce replacement bags and charge customers for plastic bags is not new."

The Otto Herrigel Environmental Trust in collaboration with the University of Namibia Environmental Fisheries Society (UNEFS) embarked on an awareness raising campaign emphasising the destructive effect of plastic waste on the environment and humans.

The students at the Unam campus in Henties Bay took time out from their exams and put on entertaining performances consisting of poems, role plays and spoof TV interviews to get their message on the detrimental effects of plastic across to members of the public.

Events to create awareness amongst the community and shoppers in particular took place at the Spar complex as well as the OK Mini Mart in Omdel. This was the first step to sensitize the community around the issue.

Shoppers watched, listen, learned and many were rewarded with a shopping “Bag for Life”.

Retailers also attended a meeting at the council chambers to discuss ideas to curb plastic pollution.

Mayor Herman Honeb chaired the meeting, with CEO Reinhardt Ochs and health officer Jeremia Khaiseb also in attendance. A full and frank discussion on the way forward and a call to action by the mayor to help the town regain its sense of pride and previously held status as cleanest coastal town followed.

The majority of those in attendance were in favour of bringing forth legislation to charge the consumer directly for all plastic bags taken away from supermarkets. OK Mart in Omdel already charge 30c per bag.



“The idea to introduce replacement bags and charge customers for plastic bags is not new. It was contemplated by the municipality of Swakopmund in 2009 already. Legislation was subsequently approved and will be implemented soon. Walvis Bay is also in the process of doing the same,” commented Angela Burrell, the project manager for the trust.

She added that an activity plan to continue promoting the message of curbing the usage of plastic bags to Henties Bay involving and urging all members of the community to work together, will be introduced soon.

Burrell indicated that Spar already pledged support for a competition at schools which will allow learners to put forward ideas, stories and pictures of their thoughts on plastic waste management.

“The short term aim of the Otto Herrigel Trust and UNEFS is to introduce a levy on single use plastic bags in the area. The money raised can then be spent on environmental projects which will not only smarten the town but also create job opportunities.”

She also suggested that smart retailers can use the money they have saved on not purchasing bags to reduce the price on essential items to reward their customers.

“The goal is not to make pots of money for an environmental fund but to educate the consumer not to needlessly take and waste plastic.”

According to the trust, statistics revealed that once supermarkets charge a levy for plastic bags the amount of bags can be reduced significantly. This occurs due to the fact that shoppers start understanding the value of a plastic bag and treat it as a valuable commodity rather than trash.

Otto Herrigel was a keen environmentalist. His widow, Karin, created the trust to promote, educate and preserve the environment.

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