Non-biodegradable plastic bags will be banned from Tunisia’s large-chain supermarkets beginning March 1, following on a similar decision in Morocco, said Tunisian Environmental Minister Riadh Mouakher, after reaching an agreement with representatives of large shopping centres.
About a billion plastic bags are used each year in Tunisia, and supermarkets alone distribute 315 million of them, generating 10,000 tonnes of waste that take over 400 years to decompose.
A law will be enacted by the end of 2017 banning the production, importation and distribution of disposable plastic bags, and their use will be banned in all shops.
The measure, announced last year, initially encountered resistance from the chemical industry, with whom the environmental ministry held lengthy talks, adopting a series of measures for gradual reconversion of their production.
“Citizens will have to change their habits and become aware of the importance of preserving the environment,” Mouakher said, thanking the management of the supermarkets that joined the initiative.