TANZANIA: New law bans plastic bags

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TANZANIA: New law bans plastic bags ©Teerasak Ladnongkhun /Shutterstock

Tanzania has recently prohibited the import, production, sale and use of plastic bags. The law signed to this effect came into force on June 1, 2019. As a result of this measure, Tanzania becomes the 34th African country to ban plastic on its territory.

The use of plastic bags is coming to an end in Tanzania. The government recently enacted a law prohibiting its production, import, sale and use on national territory. A measure that will contribute to the fight against environmental pollution. Through this legislation, Tanzania has just joined the 33 other African countries involved in the struggle. The government’s determination is unfailing. Indeed, Tanzania’s Vice-President, Samia Suluhu, confirms it: “Let me be very clear on this: after June 1, the government does not intend to add a single day and will not allow anyone to use plastic. No plastic bags will be allowed in the country”. Speaking to the local media, she warned the population a few days before the law came into force and foreigners were not left out. To raise awareness, the authorities have decided to release a notice for them, indicating that tourists will have to “get rid” of their plastic bags before stepping on Tanzanian soil.

Under the new law, the possession and the use of plastic bags is punishable by a $87 fine and/or seven days’ imprisonment.

Plastic faced on all fronts

Africa is the least polluting continent in the world, but also the most committed to combating the production and use of plastic waste. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 91 countries in the world, 34 of which are African, have banned or restricted the production, import or commercial distribution of plastic bags. Rwanda, South Africa and Eritrea are on the list of African countries that have turned against plastic. In Rwanda, all travellers entering the country are systematically searched. This East African country is also considered one of Africa’s success stories in the fight against plastic waste. Kenya has also had a similar success.

Sanctions are particularly severe in Kenya. Fines range up to $38,000, with prison sentences of up to 4 years. The law prohibiting the use of plastic bags came into force there in 2017.

Before Mauritania became involved in the fight against plastic in 2013, nearly three quarters of all cattle and sheep killed in Nouakchott, the capital, died from consuming plastic waste. And that’s not all. About 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year around the world, and a significant amount is found in the sea. Plastics, of which 300 million tonnes are produced daily worldwide, is a global threat that should be addressed through a global response…

Luchelle Feukeng

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