RWANDA – Rwanda’s cabinet has approved a draft law that seeks to impose a ban on the use of single use of plastics, a move that retaliates the country’s commitment in environmental protection, reports New Times.
The draft law, which relates to prohibition of manufacturing, use, and sale of single use plastic items, now awaits deeper discussions in the Parliament before it can be passed into law.
Single-use plastics are used only once before disposal which leads to their rapid accumulation in the environment subsequently causing pollution – if not recycled.
Most of single-use plastics are not biodegradable and include plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles, disposable cutleries and most food packaging materials.
Following the approval, Dr. Vincent Biruta, minister for Environment, has urged Rwandans to start considering alternatives to single use plastics.
Minister Biruta said that the approval comes after a vigorous engagement and consultations with stakeholders to ensure that the policy is sustainable.
The Government of Rwanda has made the protection of environment a big priority and the use of plastic bags has already been banned for many years in the country.
Rwanda’s environmental protection policies have made the country ecosystem’s value shore up resulting to upward growth across various sectors.
Tabled by the Ministry of Environment, the draft law banning single use plastics will affect some plastic bags that were previously not banned under current law and extend into some single use plastic utensils such as cups and bottles among others.
The call to end plastic waste has been escalating and even becoming a priority during the recent Annual World Economic Forum where consumer products companies were pressurised to put up more stringent strategies to curb plastic waste.
During the forum in Davos, PepsiCo, Unilever and European supermarket chains Carrefour and Tesco among other companies signed up a pilot waste-reduction programme that will see the companies deliver products in reusable bottles to shoppers and pick up the empties for cleaning and reuse.
In the recent past, dozens of multinational companies have made pledges to reduce plastic packaging, including a plan by 40 companies to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic packaging in Britain by 2025.
Rwanda is one of 40 countries around the world that have restricted, banned, or taxed the use of plastic bags, but has put in place extreme approaches for to violators probably resulting to the impressive results.
In 2008, Rwanda enacted a law prohibiting importing, producing, use or sell of non-biodegradable polythene plastic bags.