Tanzania to ban plastic bags by July

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(Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

Tanzanian has announced that it will ban single-use polythene bags from June in the war against plastic pollution.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told parliament in Dodoma this week that polythene bags will no longer be used for commercial purposes or household packaging, and warned producers and suppliers to dispose of their stocks.

“It is possible that July 1 will mark the end of the use of plastics in the country,” he said.

The Office of the Vice President will ensure the enforcement of the ban through regulations to be introduced under the environment law.

Deputy Minister in the Vice President’s Office Mussa Sima said the regulations have been prepared and are only awaiting publication in the official gazette.

In East Africa, Rwanda led the way in enforcing a ban on plastics. In 2017, Kenya passed a law imposing hefty fines on offenders, and South Sudan recently followed suit. Burundi adopted a ban in 2018.

During the World Environment Day last year, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni asked the country’s security chiefs to enforce a ban on the use of polythene bags, and ordered manufacturers to stop making them.

The directive was in line with a shelved law that barred single-use bags. However, the directive was not implemented.

Traders have been against the law, citing potential extra costs of up to $30 million in recycling technologies.