The Botswana government has announced the banning of plastic carrier bags and other plastic products with effect from the beginning of next month.

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

Frank Molebatsi, a deputy director in Botswana’s Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism ministry, said  repeat offenders faced a fine of up to P5,000 (approximately US$500) or a prison term of up to 30 days.

Plastic litter is a massive headache for conservationists and nature enthusiasts across the world. Image by Christopher J Gervais

“Guests travelling to Botswana should be aware of this and are advised to not carry plastic bags into the country. The proposed fine for carrying plastic bags will be US$500.” Wild Horizons warned in a statement.

“This means that it will be considered an offence to have these plastic bags in the country, and tourists will also be affected and will need to know not to bring in plastic bags into the country. An offence is punishable with a fine of up to P5,000 (approx $500 depending on the exchange rate).”

Wild Horizons advised tourists to use reusable bags and biodegradable products.

Plastic litter is a massive headache for conservationists and nature enthusiasts across  the world.

Countries that have introduced strict anti-plastic laws Mozambique and Cambodia.

In the past, public education and awareness campaigns have focused on the proper use of plastic bags to curb littering, promotion of its reduction, reuse, and recycling initiatives and development of compulsory standards have been introduced, but environmentalists say the  “measures never yielded positive and sustainable result.”