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    Ministry of Environment

    With the banning of plastic bags, biodegradable pellets from potato and corn are being imported for the local production of biodegradable plastic bags. Some importers are also importing biodegradable plastic bags made from tapioca. Currently, no locally produced biodegradable pellet is available for the manufacture of biodegradable plastic bags.

    On the market, the global momentum is towards biodegradables. With the increasing demand and competition for biodegradables across the world, their supply might become increasingly challenging. There is therefore the need to reduce our dependence on imported biodegradables and instead valorize our local resources for the production of biodegradable pellets as well as local fibres for the manufacture of biodegradable bags.

    Moreso, the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development (Environment and Sustainable Development Division) is working towards policies to boost alternatives for plastic containers, in particular the styrofoam containers. Unless we are able to offer biodegradable alternatives, which are affordable and available, it would be very difficult to curtail the use of plastic containers in Mauritius.

    Potential Solutions:

    Some local research conducted by the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority, University of Mauritius as well as the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council has shown that it is technically possible to produce biodegradable plastic from cane as well as from other plants.

    However, there is need to scale up these research for commercial applications.

    It is proposed to have extensive research on potential plants for the production of biodegradable plastic bags as well as biodegradable containers. Plants such as manioc and the Sansevieria trifasciata (Langue de Belle Mere or snake plant) are highly recommended. They grow very easily and require no maintenance and watering.

    (i) Locally available and affordable alternatives to plastic bags and plastic containers
    through local production of biodegradable pellets and fibres at a commercial scale
    (ii) Reduction on imports of biodegradable pellets and bags / long lasting eco- bags
    (iii) Valorization of our local resources
    (iv) Creation of jobs for cooperatives / entrepreneurs / SMEs towards alleviating poverty
    (v) These plants could be planted on barelands, hence resolving the problem of barelands
    (vi) Improving air quality via cultivation of air filtering plants such as Langue de Belle Mere

    #837 Reply

    Very much appreciated initiative. Well versed.

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