Tanzania on Saturday joined other countries on the continent to effect a total ban on use and manufacture of plastic shopping bags with heavy fines on violator.
The East African country placed a maximum 400,000 dollars fine or two years in prison on manufacturer of the prohibited environmentally unfriendly product.
“Individuals who use plastic bags will be fined about 13 dollars,” said Januari Makamba, Minister in the Vice President’s Office dealing with the environment,
The National Environmental Management Council said in a statement on Saturday that about 200 tons of plastic carrier bags have been collected in Dar es Salaam during a campaign which lasted for about two weeks.
Environmentalists have praised the ban, noting that it will go a long way in addressing environmental degradation due to use of plastic bags.
“Plastic is a number one polluter of environment and a silent killer of our natural environment….
“This is because it takes more than 100 years for a single plastic bag to decay,” said Amani Ngusaru, Director of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) an environmental campaign group.
The ban was initially announced by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa in parliament earlier this month.
He called on the plastic-producing industries in the country to begin manufacturing alternatives.
A statement on the WWF website notes that Tanzania joins about 13 countries in Africa that have either banned or introduced a levy on plastic bags to control and eventually stop their use.