Plastic bags ban: Protecting local communities from industrial pollution

THE government is currently in a move to keep clean the environment for industrial development and get rid of exploitation of its natural resources in an attempt to improve its economic stability.

Regrettably, the process of this development concept is inevitably accompanied alongside with protecting environments as a way to keep safe lives of citizens in local communities.

The government has taken steps to curb various effects caused by industrial pollution resulting from mining activities. These of recent have been noticed to affect the eco-systems of some sources of water, thus controlling has become a daunting challenge throughout.

This is due to a number of reasons including misuse of the available public resources, lack of knowledge are needed for effective environmental pollution management.

Others are related to non-compliance of the environmental laws. Water pollution has already rendered a number of ground water resources useless for humans as well as wildlife.

But this can best be recycled for further usage in industries and local communities if high technological innovation is applied on time.

Air pollution is yet another effect which leads to a steep increase in various illnesses and it continues to affect people in communities on daily basis. Air pollution has taken toll due primarily to non-compliance of the environmental laws.

Soil pollution is another detrimental effect that is creating regular environmental problems affecting agriculture and destroying local vegetation in local communities.

It also causes chronic health issues to the people who come into direct contact with such soil on a daily basis. Taken a keen lookout from that point of view, the government recently announced that it had banned single-use polythene bags with effect from the month of June this year.

The government’s move aims at waging war against rampant plastic pollution which have immense wider effects on the use of soil.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced the move when addressing the parliament in Dodoma that, “polythene bags will no longer be used for commercial purposes or household packaging and warned producers and suppliers to dispose their stocks”.

The Premier’s order has received an international accolade and support by the international NGOs including the Geneva based environmental association that looks after the welfare of marine creatures.

The Head of the Association’s Communication Unit, Mr Scotrt Cantin said recently that if use of plastic products are not effectively controlled, this would be another global disaster to sea pollution as most discarded pieces of polythene bags Plastic bags ban: Protecting local communities from industrial pollution ends up in the sea.

The official ban of use of plastics in the country will coincide with the annual event of World Environment Day (WED) which is being celebrated globally on 5th June every year since it was inaugurated by the United Nations way back in 1974.

WED was universally declared by the UN with a view to promote worldwide awareness about environmental issues and action for the protection of the environment which are plaguing the earth and its mitigation. WED has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually.

The WED for this year will be held in China under the theme of ‘Air Pollution.’ Last year’s occasion was held in India and was celebrated under the theme of “Beat Plastic Pollution’ which was a call to action for all people to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of the time.

The occasion has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation. Global warming and wildlife crime.

Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the natural environment on individual, organizational or governmental levels, for the benefit of both the environment and humans.

This is addressed through advocacy, education and activism. Tanzania has taken appropriate action to deal with plastic bags because it had ratified the charter and signed it in order to comply by rules and conditions embedded in UN charter for the protection of environment.

To implement the government’s action plan, the Premier has commissioned the office of the Vice-President to form a task force and work in collaboration with the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) to ensure the enforcement of the plastic ban through regulations which the government has introduced under the Environment Act of 2004.

The Minister of State in Vice-President’s Office who is responsible for environment, Mr January Makamba was last week quoted by the media as saying that, “the regulations have been prepared and have officially publicized in government gazette.

Minister Makamba was speaking with Regional Commissioners (RCs) and Regional Administrative Secretaries (RAS) in Dodoma city when they met to discuss way forward in various issues pertaining to the country’s development Among the things he put in place includes strategies which the government has put in place to curb industrial pollution and the prohibition use of plastic bags and wanted them to effect the order in their respective regions as per the government rules and regulations set for guidance.

The newly introduced regulations are made workable with effect from June this year and will also give law enforcers to be proactive throughout in order to ensure that, the government’s decision is strictly adhered to by all citizens in the country.

In line with the implementation of new regulations over the ban, the government has also issued a notice to foreigners visiting the country to avoid carrying polythene bags with them starting from the date announced.

The new regulation has endorsed different rates of penalties on defiant industrialists, importers, exporters, petty traders as well as ordinary individuals who shall be found to have gone against the government’s order of banning the use of plastic bags in the country.

The Deputy Minister in the same portfolio Mussa Sima made it clear that, “the arrested defaulters who shall be found in possession with any prohibited polythene bags after the officially announced date, shall be liable to a fine that range between Tshs. 10,000/- and Tshs. 30,000/- respectively”.

The survey by the ‘Daily News’ can also establish that, mobile phone users across the country have been receiving regular messages warning them to adhere to the government’s directives to stop interacting with polythene bags from the date of its official ban, or else risk to face punitive measures including harsh fines.

NEMC’s Director General, Dr Samwel Gwamaka has worked on government’s directives and directed executives in district and municipal council levels in the country to allocate special areas within their jurisdictions whereby stocks of polythene bags would be damped.

He noted that, efforts will be made to educate the public on the usefulness of the ban and called on people to observe government deadline to avoid punishment once the time limit is over.

ON March 16, 2020, Minister of Health, Social ...


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