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Government sticks to June 1st plastic bags ban, spells penalties

THE government has maintained its stance on the ban of plastics bags countrywide, saying that whoever would be caught importing them after June 1st, 2019, will face between 20m/- to 1bn/- fine, or a-two-year jail term, or both penalties at once.

The warning was repeated yesterday in Dar es Salaam in a public event organized by Vice President’s Office, where government leaders met the public to discuss how best to implement the ban.

Addressing the public, a Senior Lawyer in the Vice President’s Office, Ms Angela Kileo said that the new regulation directs that whoever would be found trading on the bags, would face the penalty, after the grace period expires on the day.

“One will experience between 5m/- to 20m/- penalty for export, or a-two year jail term, or both penalties at once. Storage punishment and distribution will be an offence and force one to pay between 5m/- to 50m/- or a-two year jail term, or both penalties a time.

“Small vendors will face between 100,000/- to 500,000/- penalty, or up to a-three-month jail sentence, or both punishments collectively at a time.

Plastic bag users will be penalized between 30,000/- to 200,000/- or spend seven days in jail, or both penalties as it is stated in the 8th regulations,” added Ms Kileo.

She further said that importers of the bags would be forced to return them back to the place of origin at owns costs and the same will be applied to producers who would be forced to destroy them bearing the costs on their own, under the supervision of the government as per regulation number 18.

However, the Senior Lawyer noted that regulation no. 9 directs that the ban would not involve the packages in factories, drugs labels and containers, building materials, agricultural products and dustbins among others, adding that: “but package producers should adhere to the standards set by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS).

On his part, the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) Senior Lawyer, Engineer Julius Enock said that the bags are dangerous to the environment, because their lifespan is between 500 to 1,000 years without decay.

He noted that despite local producers releasing about 350,000 tonnes of them in the market yearly, nearly 84 percent of the number has been randomly dumped in the environment.

“About 127 countries in the world have already taken various measures to discourage plastic bags’ uses. Our neighbours in Kenya and Rwanda as well as Zanzibar are also on the list. We are certain that Tanzania Mainland will also win the battle,” pointed our Eng Enock.

He added that, not only the bags are degrading the environment, but also poisoning living creatures in water bodies, besides wild animals and livestock in their habitats.

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Author: ABELA MSIKULA

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