Rabat - Two years after the use of plastic bags was banned from medium and large distribution companies and convenience stores, plastic bags are still commonly used in Morocco.
Rabat – Two years after the use of plastic bags was banned from medium and large distribution companies and convenience stores, plastic bags are still commonly used in Morocco.
According to Minister of Industry Hafid El Alamy, plastic bags have not been completely eradicated because new sources of plastic bags have emerged, such as illegal manufacturing workshops, smuggling, and illegal distribution. “We notice a kind of awareness, but also a change in the understanding of the problem of plastic bags, but there is still a long way to go.”
The Minister also spoke of the importance of awareness-raising among citizens towards the dangers of plastic bags.
On the other hand, he said the ban’s impact has been “extremely satisfactory and encouraging.” Medium and large distribution companies are exclusively using substitute products he mentioned, in a meeting with industry stakeholders and civil society representatives on Tuesday, July 3.
According to a review of control and support operations published by online outlet Media24 after the meeting, the Ministry of Industry recorded 3,826 offenses among 682,467 inspections it carried out.
Approximately MAD 5 billion in fines was imposed on 757 judgments. More than 750 tons of plastic bags were seized in workshops and outlets. More than 89 tons were collected at border inspection posts.
The Ministry has made two separate funds available to industrialists to dispose of plastic bags: a conversion fund of MAD 200 billion for companies impacted by the ban and a business competitiveness support fund called “Imtiaz” (“excellence”) for investment projects in alternative industries.
The conversion fund included 25 beneficiary companies, 18 of which changed their business to manufacture substitutes to plastic bags. Others continued to make bags, but began to make them biodegradable to comply with the law. As for the “Imtiaz” fund, 19 investment projects received money from the program, at a total of MAD 52 billion.
There have been 250 suppliers of substitute products in Morocco since the ban took effect. This was considered a positive result compared to the ministry’s expectations.
- Nonwoven fabric bags: 3.2 billion bags / year
- Woven bags: 1.2 billion bags / year
- Paper bags: 5 billion bags / year
- Freezer bags: 50 million bags / year
- Garbage bags: 60 million bags / year
- Bags for wet products (non-woven and laminated): 60 million bags / year
- Thermoforming products: 1500 tons per year
As one roams the streets of Morocco and its shops and traditional souks, one notices that plastic bags are still used by grocery stores and street vendors in Morocco. Shops dedicated to selling plastic bags are still open as well.
In addition, many Moroccan customers are still using plastic bags. They are easy to use and merchants offer them for free, unlike alternatives which are considered expensive in reference to the purchasing power of Moroccan citizens.