Burundi fast-tracks plastics ban by six months

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Tons of colored plastic bags polluting the outskirts of Mukuru slum in Nairobi, Kenya. In some areas, plastic bags cover vast amounts of unused land surrounding slum areas. (Photo by Wendy Stone/Corbis via Getty Images)
Tons of colored plastic bags polluting the outskirts of a city. In some areas, plastic bags cover vast amounts of unused land surrounding slum areas. (Photo by Wendy Stone/Corbis via Getty Images)

Burundi’s Environment Minister Déo-Guide Rurema announced that he had brought forward a ban on plastic bags by six months after noting that the bags were still being used widely.

The ban comes into effect in a week’s time, however, Rurema did not elaborate on what penalties those who flout the ban would face.

Burundi banned the use of plastic bags in August 2018 with the government setting out a period of 18 months in which consumers and retailers were allowed to make the necessary adjustments before its implementation.

The government has previously insisted that locally produced, environmentally friendly bags should be used instead but residents who spoke to the BBC argued that the alternatives are not readily available.

With this, Burundi hopes to join other countries in the East African region which have implemented bans on single-use plastics or taken a measure against their use.

More than 60 other countries globally have banned, partly banned or taxed single-use plastic bags, including Kenya and Rwanda.

Single-use plastics are classified by the United Nations as one of the biggest global environmental challenges.

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