Govt unveils task force to enforce plastic bags ban

22May 2019
The Guardian Reporter
DAR
The Guardian
Govt unveils task force to enforce plastic bags ban

THE government through the Vice-President's Office has formed a multi-agency task force to enforce the ban on plastic carrying bags ahead of the deadline for manufacture, sale and use of the items set for June 1.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

 The VPO Information Office said yesterday that the enforcement team is comprised of officials from the National Environment Management Council (NEMC), the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA),  the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS),  the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA),  the Police Force and the Chief Government Chemist Laboratory Agency.

 “Also the President's Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments) is part of the task force to ensure that city, town, municipal and district councils implement the ban. It will be responsible for ensuring compliance and enforcement of specific regulations,” it explained.

However, plastic packaging for medical services, industrial products, the construction industry, agro-produce, food, beverages, sanitary and waste management are exempted from the prohibition.

The government through the VPO has since the announcement of the ban last month encouraged entrepreneurs to venture into the production of bags made from organic materials or woven recyclable materials or non-woven materials without plastic content as alternatives.

 “Such alternative bags are those made from paper, textile, organic, woven recyclable, non-woven materials without plastic content or any such materials as the government may determine from time to time,” the VPO noted.

Speaking about the prohibition recently, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said this is a unique opportunity for small and large businesses to manufacture large quantities of carrier bags for both local use and export.

The VP has maintained that the ban has brought numerous opportunities for new jobs especially for women and youth in manufacturing alternative bags, including woven baskets that require simple technology, dedication and hard work.

The ban is dictated by the fact that plastic materials are harmful due to their non-biodegradability when thrown on , thus affecting the health of flora and fauna, blocking drainage and harming marine life when it piles up in the high seas.

In the Environmental Management (Prohibition of Plastic Carrier Bags) Regulations 2019 it is specified that importation of such bags attracts a fine of not less than 5m/- but not exceeding 20m/- or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

 Storing, supplying and distributing attracts a fine of not less than 5m/- but not exceeding 50m/- or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both while selling is punishable by a fine of not less than  100,000/- but not exceeding 500,000/- or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three  months, or both.

Possessing and using attracts a fine of not less than 30,000/- but not exceeding 200,000/- or imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven days, or both.