TUNISIA – Tunisian authorities in Djerba have banned the production and distribution of plastic packaging as part of the “Djerba without plastic” project.

The ban which took effect on 1 August 2022, aims to fight plastic pollution with the strict prohibition of the production or use of plastic packaging in Djerba, a city located in the east of Tunisia.

Through the operation “Djerba without plastic”, the government hopes to withers fight against plastic pollution.

This decision came after the promulgation of a joint decision of the three municipalities of DjerbaMidoune, Ajime and Houmt Souk linking to the ban on the production, distribution and use of plastic bags.

“The government’s plan is to seize prohibited materials until December 2022, after which violators will be fined between 300 and 1000 dinars (93 to 124 euros),” explains Faouzi Bousoffara, the project coordinator.

According to authorities, the decision will be executed gradually, which will permit the whole month of August to be devoted to raising awareness and popularizing this decision before seizing the forbidden products during September and October.

It is only in December that offenders will be sanctioned, through penalties ranging between 300 and 1000 dinars.

With approximately 1.8 million tourists in 2018 according to the Tunisian Ministry of Local Affairs and Environment, Djerba no longer has a landfill following the closure of the Mellita landfill in 2010 due to a land dispute.

The recent decision of the Tunisian government will allow this city of 200,000 inhabitants to regain the splendor of its former Mediterranean beaches.

The move will help the North African country, which produces 2.6 million tonnes of waste each year, to fight plastic pollution since recycling is almost non-existent.

According to Tunisian waste management expert Walim Merdaci, about 85 percent of waste ends up in landfills, while much of the rest winds up in informal dumps.

To curb plastic waste pollution, the government, through the National Agency for Waste Management (ANAGED) has given its approval for the reopening of 31 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) specializing in solid waste collection.

According to ANAGED, the operationalization of the 31 SMEs is part of “Mechanism 41”, which consists of authorizing small companies to carry out non-hazardous waste collection services on roads connecting cities and their entrances, main roads and roads leading to controlled landfills, as well as processing centers and other establishments.

The companies will also educate citizens on the culture of waste separation and the development of sustainable projects.

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