Plastic bag ban in Dar Es Salaam

The Tanzanian Government has taken a step further than many of its African neighbours and introduced an outright ban on disposable plastic bags.

Environmentally-driven ‘plastaxes’ akin to those imposed in Ireland (see related story) are already in place in a number of African nations, but Dar Es Salaam has decided this does not do enough to address the waste and resources issues associated with disposable bags.

Announced as part of a package of environmental policies on Saturday by Vice President Ali Shein, the tax prohibits the use, sale, manufacturing or import of bags of a thickness between 30 and 65 microns.

Thicker, more durable plastic bags will still be allowed under the new law but industrialists are being strongly encouraged to switch to the production of paper bags.

Other measures introduced to protect the country’s environment include the eviction of illegal squatter-farmers and their herds of cattle from game reserves and other protected areas, a clamp down on small-scale gems prospectors and their damaging mining operations and an extensive tree planting campaign to combat deforestation.

Tanzania has over 16 million cattle and illegal grazers have been ordered to vacate protected areas immediately.

Unauthorised miners have been given three months to close down their operations.

The tree planting campaign will require each of the country’s regions to plant a minimum of 1.5 million saplings per year, with every business, organisation, school and hospital expected to plant at least one tree.

Sam Bond

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