Manufacturers, Producers Cease Operations As ban on plastic bags takes effect

By Muhammed Sailu Bah
Plastic bag manufacturers and producers of packaged water have nowEffect of Ban on Plastic bags
ceased operations following the coming into effect of the ban on
plastic bags on Wednesday, 1 July 2015.
This reporter has been making the rounds within the Greater BanjulArea to observe the impact of this executive directive on those who
were involved in the manufacture and use of plastic bags.
Visiting Banjul yesterday, it was confirmed that 3 water packaging
businesses have stopped operating due to the ban. One of the
proprietors of the installation said he spent more than one hundred
thousand dalasi to purchase his machine. He said he is now forced to
close down without recovering from the investment. “I will be
relocating my business to Bissau where there is no ban in place,” he
disclosed.
At Gamplast company in Kanifing, which used to manufacture plastic
bags of different types, this reporter found the place closed. The two
caretakers who were met at the entrance explained that the plant was
closed well before the date the ban was supposed to take effect. They
said the manager has travelled and that all the employees are laid
off.
Talking to this reporter earlier, the Manager of the Company had
revealed that they have 50 employees in their payroll. He said the
Company produces industrial packaging and other plastic products for
water and beverages.
Banka Janka, the Manager of the water packaging NAAN Company at
Busumbala, confirmed that they have stopped production. He said their
10 employees are no longer working.
Muhammad Diye Jallow, the owner of MDN water packaging business, also
explained similar problems he is facing. He added that immediately
before the announcement of the ban, he had already purchased a very
large quantity of plastic bags which could not be exhausted.
“Now that I have ceased operations, I don’t know what to do with my
packaging machine and this large quantity of plastic bags?” he asked.
When Foroyaa contacted Mr. Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, Assistant Program
Officer, Environmental Education and Communication at the National
Environment Agency (NEA), to enquire more about the nature,  objective
and implications of the directive banning the importation, manufacture
and use of plastic bags in the country, he promised to provide the
details on the issues raised.
As readers could recall, a press release issued by the president’s
office on Monday, 20th April 2015, and read on state television,
announced a complete ban on the importation and use of plastic bags in
the country. According to the release, “the indiscriminate use of
plastic bags in the Gambia poses a serious existentialist threat to
the fragile ecosystem of the country and presents an unwarranted
environmental eyesore. Plastic bags are also responsible for
suffocation deaths of sea and land animals as well as inhibiting soil
nutrients.”