TANZANIA – Tanzania has enjoined other countries in imposing ban on the production, supply and use of plastic carries bags as part of its efforts to promote sustainability through the reduction of environmental pollution.

Effective June 1, 2019, no plastic carrier bag will be allowed to be produced, imported and distributed in the country except those, which are allowed under the law, including those used wrapping up and packaging of certain products such as food, medicine and agricultural materials.

This has compelled food vendors in the country to explore alternative packaging solution, including paper.

NEMC officials have reiterated their commitment in imposing the ban saying that its officials would be deployed across the country where they would work with local government officials in implementing it.

Uncontrolled use of plastic bags have been proven to significantly contribute to degredation of ecosystems subsequently, posing adverse health hazards to humans, animals and the environment.

According to a Daily News report, Tanzania normally produced over 56,000 tonnes of plastic bags and used over two billion pieces of them a year, Joseph Sokoine, an administrator concerned with environmental affairs reveals.

Data obtained from NEMC shows that despite its economic and technological advancement, Tanzania marginally lags behind in recycling of plastics with levels being as low as only one per cent.

On April 9, this year, Prime Minister (PM) Kassim Majaliwa issued an official statement in the National Assembly to declare a total ban on all single-use plastic carrier bags effective June 1, 2019.

According to the Environmental Management (Prohibition of Plastic Carrier Bags) Regulations of 2019 all plastic carrier bags, regardless of their thickness, are prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in Mainland Tanzania.

The law further requires that no person shall sell or offer for sale beverages or other commodities wrapped in plastics unless the nature of such commodities require wrappings by plastics.

However, no authority will be able to acquire, register or issue a licence or permit to any person intending to import, export, manufacture or sell plastic carrier bags that have been prohibited by Regulations.

Tanzania becomes one of the 128 nations that have taken stern measures to curb environmental pollution and the third country in the East African Community (EAC) bloc after Kenya and Rwanda.

In Africa, there are about 13 countries that have either banned or introduced a levy on plastic bags to control and eventually stop their use.