Plastic Bags
Don't let the pretty colors fool you. Plastic bags are a scourge. DepositPhotos

Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has declared a total ban on all single-use plastic carrier bags with effect from June 1, this year, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Information and Communication Unit has said.

The statement said Majaliwa announced the ban on all single-use plastic carrier bags in parliament in the capital Dodoma on Wednesday night when winding up debate on his office’s budget estimates for the 2019/2020 financial year. He told the House that the ban involved production, importation, sale and use of all single-use plastic carrier bags to help control pollution from non-biodegradable waste.

Majaliwa said: “I recently directed the minister responsible for environment to hold consultations with stakeholders including manufacturers of plastic bags to ensure that the ban is observed to the brim.”

He said the government has given manufacturers of plastics bags enough time from now to May 31 to change their production technologies for production of other environmentally friendly goods. “We are taking these measures to protect the health of our people, the health of animals and the infrastructure against the harm done by non-biodegradable waste,” said the premier.

On Monday, the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office responsible for Environment, January Makamba, told parliament the government has put in place plans to ban the use of single-use plastic carrier bags.

Regulations on the legislation banning the use of single-use plastic carrier bags were ready pending a notice in the official government gazette, he said. In August 2017, neighboring Kenya introduced one of the world’s toughest bans on plastic bags mandating four years in prison or a fine of 40,000 U.S. dollars for even using one.

Kenya said this week that it was pushing its neighbors, especially Uganda and Tanzania, to ban the single-use plastic carrier bags, as it struggled to control smuggling of the products into its territory.

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