Tanzania, will be added to the likes of Rwanda and Kenya, starting June 1, 2019, on banning plastic bags.Effective 1st June 2019: “All passengers arriving at any Tanzania airport including tourists can possibly face very heavy fines for using plastic bags in any way, shape or form. Using, manufacture or importation of plastic bags, including garbage bags and shopping bags is illegal. Offenders, including tourists, could face very heavy fines.Visitors/Citizens and Residents alike are advised to avoid packing any plastic bags in their suitcases or in carry-on hand luggage before flying to Tanzania. Items purchased at the airport before boarding the aircraft should be removed from plastic bags. Please check hand luggage before disembarking at entry points and any plastic bags should be left in the plane.Similarly the transparent “zip-lock” plastic bags that some airlines require passengers to use for keeping liquids, cosmetics, toiletries etc separately in hand luggage are also not permitted to be brought and should be removed and left on the plane before disembarking.”
Visitors to Tanzania are being advised to avoid bringing any plastic carrier bags or packing items in plastic carrier bags in suitcases or hand luggage before embarking on a trip to Tanzania.
To help screen out plastics moving forward, there will be a special desk designated at all of the country’s entry points, where visitors will be asked to surrender plastic carrier bags. However, the government’s statement notes that Ziploc bags that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted, as they are expected to remain in the possession of visitors and not disposed of while in the country.
A story from Reuters also reported that Tanzania plans to ban the production of such bags, as well as their sale and importation.
The East African nation is the latest country to make such a commitment with regard to plastic bags, which the United Nations has described as one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.
Kenya introduced a ban in August 2017, which has been described as one of the toughest in the world. It punishes offenders with four years in prison or a fine of $40,000 for simply using a plastic bag, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, in Rwanda, it is illegal to import, produce, use or sell plastic bags and plastic packaging except within specific industries like hospitals and pharmaceuticals, according to The New York Times.
The U.N. estimates that of the nine billion tons of plastic the world has produced, a mere nine percent has been recycled.