EAST African Community Partner States have been directed to enforce relevant laws to effectively ban the manufacture and use of plastic carrier bags with immediate effect.
The 7th Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources Management which met in Dodoma recently further directed Partner States that are yet to ban the single use of plastic and plastic carrier bags to do so urgently.
So far, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania have fully enforced the ban on the manufacture of single use plastic and plastic carrier bags.
The Sectoral Council further adopted the EAC Comprehensive Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction and directed the Secretariat to expedite its implementation.
Plastic which was introduced in Africa a generation ago has been reported to pollute both the seas and land at an alarming rate.
According to EcoWatch Plastics affect all biological spectrum, including posing risks to human health and wildlife, the accumulation of these products has led to increasing amounts of environmental pollution around the world including Africa.
About 90 per cent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface is believed to be emanating from plastics.
According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), half of all plastic produced is designed to be used just once and then discarded, resulting in mass amounts of chemicallyladen debris landing in oceans and littering landscapes.
Meanwhile, the Sectoral Council received a status report on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) which was adopted by African Union Member States and the rest of the world during the third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Council was, among other things, informed that in implementing the SFDRR, the overall disaster risk had generally increased in the EAC region in recent years. Further, mortalities from biological and hydro-meteorological hazards remained stable but the number of people affected by disasters dropped from 32 million to 1.5 million.
The Sectoral Council further heard that the direct economic impact of disasters in the EAC dropped from US1.8 million to US$483,600 over the period with Kenya and Tanzania sustaining the highest economic losses.
The Council was informed that massive impact had been noted including landslides, floods and drought on health, educational and transportation systems.