GOOD NEWS FOR TANZANIAS ENVIRONMENT, AT LAST
A total ban for the manufacture and use of plastic bags is in the offing in Tanzania, as government is fine-tuning legislative and regulatory drafts, which in due course are to be submitted to parliament for debate and endorsement.
Previous control measures, introduced in 2006, proved to be insufficient to prevent littering and bags in use now appear not biodegradable contrary to regulations and industry assurances.
When coming into effect the new amended laws will prevent the manufacture and distribution but also the importation of plastic shopping bags, and of course the use of them by shops and consumers. Owners of shopping malls and shops have predictably already cried wolf but have conveniently overlooked the fact that Rwanda already has such measures in place since 2008 and regional retail giants like Nakumatt have found ways to package customers purchases without using the dreaded kaveeras as they are called in Uganda. As a second positive after effect will the sisal industry very likely receive a boost as consumers have to switch to jute based shopping bags, bringing both employment opportunities to the farming of sisal and the manufacturing of the bags. Besides, these alternatives are fully biodegradable and equally cost effective as their lifespan is a great multiple compared to plastic wrappings.
The issue came recently to the forefront in Tanzania when clogged up drainage channels were chocked by discarded plastic bags and livestock and wildlife have died after ingesting the bags.
Watch this space for upcoming announcements while it is also hoped that Kenya, Uganda and Burundi follow Rwandas shining example and move in earnest to ban the menace.