Morocco seizes 420 tons of plastic bags in year since ban

(iStock)
(iStock)

Rabat - Moroccan authorities have seized more than 420 tons of plastic bags in the year since they were banned, the government says.

With the legislation dubbed "zero mika", or zero plastic in Arabic, Morocco became one of the first countries in Africa to impose a total ban on plastic bags, along with Rwanda.

During the year, "more than 421 tons of plastic bags, 70 manufacturing machines and 16 vehicles" were seized, and 55 people were arrested, said the interior ministry.

In the first three months of 2017, 36 tons of plastic bags and 51 machines were seized in operations to dismantle their illegal production, it said.

Since the law took effect, the authorities have been strict to ensure its application, especially in shops and supermarkets in larger cities and towns.

Moroccans have instead taken to using fabric bags.

The ministry of industry has set up a $21.8m fund to help companies affected by the law.

The government has described as "encouraging" the results of the ban, saying it had virtually eradicated the use of plastic bags in the country.

Morocco hosted the COP22 international climate conference in October 2016 and in recent years has embarked on a proactive strategy for "green" energy and sustainable development.

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