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Tanzania is set to ban plastic bags

Source: Pixabay/BrightVibes

In a historic conservation move, the government of yet another African country has announced the ban on plastic bag use from June this year.

Tanzania bans the use of plastic bags

The government of Tanzania has announced plans to ban the production, importation, sale and use of all single-use plastic bags from June 1st, to help tackle pollution from non-biodegradable waste. The East African nation is the latest country to make a formal commitment to phase out single-use non-biodegradable plastics, which have been identified by the United Nations as one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.

Of the 127 countries with some form of plastic bag legislation, 91 countries, representing about 72%, have some type of ban or restriction on the manufacture or production, importation, and retail distribution of plastic bags. The region with the greatest number of countries adopting this approach is Africa, with 34 countries, closely followed by Europe with 29 countries.
African countries lead the way on banning plastic bags Of the 127 countries with some form of plastic bag legislation, 91 countries, representing about 72%, have some type of ban or restriction on the manufacture or production, importation, and retail distribution of plastic bags. The region with the greatest number of countries adopting this approach is Africa, with 34 countries, closely followed by Europe with 29 countries. Source: wedocs.unep.org

Tanzania joins some 13 countries in Africa that have either banned or introduced a levy on plastic

In his speech during a budget session in the National Parliament of Tanzania, the Prime Minister His Excellency Kassim Majaliwa announced that the last day to use plastic bags in Tanzania will be 31st May 2019 and from the 1st June no one will be allowed to produce, import, sell or use plastic bags. 

He called on the plastic producing industries in the country to come up with some other technology for carrier bags instead of plastics. He said he has directed the minister for environment and union from the Vice President’s office to include the ban in the existing environment law and make it a legal ban.

Tanzania joins about 13 countries in Africa that have either banned or introduced a levy on plastic bags to control and eventually stop its use.  

In East Africa, Kenya introduced a complete ban on plastic last August, while in Uganda in 2007, a ban of lightweight plastic bags was introduced and came into effect that year. 

However, the ban was never fully implemented. Plastics even the countries with bans are still using them illegally.

A huge success story has been Rwanda’s ban, in force for 11 years, that’s seen multiple benefits nationwide, including a boom in tourism. (See below)

Source: WWF

Ten years on: Rwanda's plastic ban is a success story and model for other countries A decade ago, Rwanda became an environmental pioneer by banning plastic bags and packaging – inspiring other African nations to follow suit. Source: YouTube/DW

As Africa bans the plastic bag will the developed world change its habits?

More than 40 countries have now joined United Nations Environment Agency’s (UNEA) #CleanSeas campaign, which covers more than half the world’s coastlines. 

The threat is very real. If nothing is done—NOW—the oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050, according to leading environmentalists. 

If individual countries fail to clean up their plastic waste our seas will be choked, and this will almost certainly affect the world’s ability to generate oxygen, sustain the food chain and indeed all life on the planet. 

It is worth noting that there is no such ban enforced in the UK, US or China, which have highly developed plastics industries that produce and export plastic bags across the globe.

Authorities in African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritania and Morocco, all of which have a total ban in place, have already reported seizures of bags smuggled in from these countries. 

If the developed world does not get behind the total ban, the initiative will fail.

Plastics were introduced to Africans only a generation ago by the developed world as a practical and low cost way to deal with many household and commercial needs, and indeed they were adopted whole-heartedly. 

Today these same African countries are working hard to eradicate plastics. Perhaps we should question why the side effects of promoting them were not foreseen earlier? 

While in many cases these countries have not yet effected a total ban themselves, it’s impossible to miss the irony. It’s a very sore point for the poorest Africans whom the total ban affects most.

Africa has banned plastic bags. Will the developed world also change its habits? We shall see. 

Source: accaglobal.com

30% FEWER PLASTIC BAGS ON SEABED BUT 63% OF TRAWLS CONTAINED AT LEAST ONE PLASTIC LITTER ITEM Scientists from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) say they have found an estimated 30% drop in the number of plastic bags on the seabed around Norway, Germany, northern France and Ireland Source: Facebook BrightVibes
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