National Environment Agency recently briefed journalists on banned plastic bag
Speaking on the occasion, the NEA Executive Director, Muhammed Jamal Suwareh, said in The Gambia, plastic bags pollution was causing severe environmental and health damages through various pathways in the marine ecosystem.
He disclosed that plastic bags that find their way into water bodies cause the death of juvenile fish and other marine species by entanglement. On land, he added that plastic bags destroys soil structure by reducing aeration and root penetration, hence threatening soil and crop production.
Mr Suwareh said in the live stock sector, plastic bags caused death of live stock when swallowed or ingested, hence causing huge economic loss to farmers.
“These problems threaten among other things our food security,” he said, adding that the plastic bags do not decompose for decades.
According to Director Suwareh, most plastic wastes find their way into gutters and waterways; hence it causes blockage and subsequent flooding disaster.
He said when plastic bags are burnt, the process of burning releases dangerous chemical such as pop dioxins and furans causing cancer.
Mr Suwareh added that plastic bags are often misused by putting hot foods like Ebbeh, Café Touba etc, adding that this causes the release of the chemical content of the plastic into the food, hence causes long term health problems.
The Government of The Gambia joined the list of countries that banned plastic bags effective 1 July 2015, and prohibits the import and manufacture, sale and the use of the plastic bags.
He disclosed that the ban on plastic bags order 2015 is a legal document that prohibits the manufacture, import, sales and use of plastic bags in the country.
The head of communication department at the NEA, Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, revealed that it was estimated that between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used globally each year.