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Tunisian coastline gets 9.5 kg per km of plastic daily

Plastic bag ban not applied due to pandemic

03 February, 16:59

    (ANSA) - TUNISI, 03 FEB - Each kilometre of the Tunisian coastline gets about 9.5 kilogrammes of plastic every day, according to the results of a preliminary diagnosis carried out in 2021, as part of the national strategy to fight against plastic waste, reported the country's TAP news agency on Thursday.

    The beaches of Monastir, Nabeul, Mahdia, Sfax and Medenine are the most polluted by plastic waste, said Director of Quality of Life at the Ministry of Environment, Awatef Larbi Messi.

    Messi said at a conference on Thursday that her department was currently working with 11 experts from the World Bank to develop a strategy and that another study is being prepared in partnership with the European Union to combat plastic pollution.

    "For Messi, it is time to apply government decree no. 32 for the year 2020 on the banning of single-use plastic bags, which has been blocked since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic," TAP reported.

    "This decree only allowed for a ban on the production of single-use plastic bags from September 1, 2022. The government decree of January 16, 2020, is expected to come into force on March 1, 2020, for shopping centres and pharmacies, and on January 1, 2021, for all producers, importers, distributors and holders of plastic bags." The decree was to have come into effect on March 1, 2020 for shopping malls and pharmacies and January 1, 2021 for all producers, importers, distributors and holders of plastic bags.

    It has instead only been able to ban the production of single-use plastic bags starting Sept 1, 2022, Messi said.

    "The professional group of the plastic industry, which is part of the Tunisian Confederation of Citizen Enterprises (CONECT), has called on the government to suspend, until December 31, 2023, the application of the governmental decree n° 2020-32 of January 16, 2020, fixing the types of plastic bags whose production, importation, distribution and possession are prohibited on the domestic market, because of the difficulties faced by the industry," TAP reported.

    "A citizen awareness campaign called "clean up month" was organised from August 14 to September 4. It allowed the collection of 1,185 kg of light waste in the framework of 278 interventions in the different regions of the country," it added.

    The initiative "made it possible to collect light waste (plastic, paper, cardboard, glass and aluminium) that escapes official channels, in particular, waste hanging from trees, shrubs and bushes along roads and motorways and in towns," it stated.

    "In Tunisia, 4.2 billion bags are consumed annually, including one billion that are produced locally, and are then thrown away in the open without any recycling," TAP reported.


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