By Muhammad Sailu Bah
As the ban on plastic bags in the Gambia took effect yesterday, 1 July
2015, people who were dealing with these products as well as the
consumers using them are now left without a substitute but to comply
with the order.On the eve of the ban, a press release was issued by The National
Environment Agency (NEA) urging everyone to comply with it and for
those who were doing business in plastic bags to register with them
and declare the quantities in their possession.
This reporter went round in Banjul and some parts of the Kanifing
Municipality yesterday, Wednesday, 1 July, to see how the ban is
impacting on business and to also get the opinion of some of the users
of plastic bags.
At the Banjul Albert Market, one can see the plastic bags still in use
as women and other shoppers carry them as containers. Some small shops
or canteens also have them hanging either for their customers or for
Mbye Jeng, a foodstuff vendor, said the ban will impact negatively on
his business as he sells in retail quantities of which plastic bags
are crucial as customers use them as containers.
“I have been using the plastic bags as container for cooking oil
and other foodstuff I sell on retail,” he revealed.
A cereal vendor, Alieu Gaye, who is in his 70s, made similar remarks,
adding that a substitute to plastic bags should be introduced to make
their business easy.
Similar observation was also made in Serekunda in the vicinity of the
central market as plastic bags are still in use by customers.
A lady who sells the delicacy called ‘Ebbeh’ said they will be hard
hit by this ban as the majority of their customers use it as container
for the food which they often eat while walking in the streets.
The street corner shopkeepers and ice block sellers are also among the
bevy of small economic operators or traders whose businesses will be
affected, especially when it comes to retail goods such as rice,
sugar, local juice, etc.
This reporter visited the NEA head office at Kanifing to talk to the
Executive Director on the issue but was told that both the director
and the deputy were out at the time. However, the request for an interview
was made with the Secretary.
Foroyaa will, however, be giving updates on the issue.