The use of plastic bags in all countries cannot be overemphasised. It finds its use almost in all markets to domestic use. The use is indispensable in various areas of demand.
However, a plastic bag takes a hundred years to degrade. It is considered a major global issue. It is against the backdrop that the Government of Tanzania decides to ban the use in the country.
Plastic bags contribute to flooding and prevents the crop from growing in Tanzania. The rainwater cannot penetrate the soil when it is littered by plastic bags.
There is an exception to the ban on the use of plastic bags in Tanzania. The areas of services that will still make use of plastic bags are medical services, industrial products, construction industry, agricultural sector, foodstuff, sanitary and waste management.
Ziplo bag is also permitted because of its specific use in carrying toiletries. However, they are expected to remain in the permanent position of the visitor and can’t be disposed of in the country.
The use of plastic bags by a traveller coming to the East African country is strictly prohibited. All entry points are already well equipped and ready to ensure that travellers cannot enter the country with plastic bags.
“The government does not intend for visitors to Tanzania to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban. However, the government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from this plastic bags ban,” the statement reads in part.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Country Director Dr Amani Ngusaru congratulated the government for stepping up the fight against plastic pollution in the country.
“Plastic is a number one polluter of environment and a silent killer of our natural environment and resources than most people understand,” Ngusaru said.
The Office of the Vice President is to ensure the enforcement of the ban through regulations to be introduced under the environment law.
Tanzania will join more than 40 countries around the world that have banned, restricted or impose a tax on the use of plastic bags. The countries include Rwanda, China France, Kenya and Italy.
Also, Tanzania joins about 13 African countries that have either banned or introduced a levy on plastic bags to control and eventually stop its use.