In the efforts of protection of environment against non-biodegradable plastic waste / pollution, Tanzania, through the Office of the Vice President, has enforced a total ban of single-use plastic carrier bags.
On 17th May 2019, the Environment Management (Prohibition of Plastic Carrier Bags) Regulations, 2019 were gazetted under Government Notice No. 394 of 2019 to legally enforce the ban, which came into force on 1st June 2019.
The ban applies to usage, supply, sale, manufacturing, importation, storage and exportation of plastic carrier bags by companies / industries and individuals, including citizens and non-citizens in Tanzania Mainland.
The plastic carrier-bags referred to under the law includes any plastic film-made bag with or without handles or supports / gussets regardless of their thickness except plastic or plastic packaging for medical services, industrial products, construction industry, agricultural sector, food processing or sanitary and waste management. The later are legally exempted on condition that the packaging meets the quality standards prescribed by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards and are managed and disposed of in accordance with the Environmental Management (Hazardous Waste Control and Management) Regulations, GN No. 263 of 2009.
The ban extends to plastic wrappings unless the nature of a wrapped product requires plastic wrapping. On that note, travellers who normally prefer to wrap their luggage / bags while in transit should be aware when planning to travel to Tanzania.
Any contravention of the Regulations is an offence which, on conviction, attracts hefty fines and / or
imprisonment depending on the group where the offender fall. For manufactures or importers, the minimum fine is Tshs. 20 Million to a maximum of Tshs. 1 Billion and / or imprisonment of a maximum term of 2 years.
For exporters, the minimum fine is Tshs. 5 Million to a maximum of Tshs. 20 Million and / or imprisonment of a maximum term of 2 years. For offences related to storage, supply and distribution of the plastic bags, the minimum fine is Tshs. 5 Million to a maximum of Tshs. 50 Million and/or imprisonment of a maximum term of 2 years. For offences related to sale, the minimum fine is Tshs. 100,000 /= to a maximum of Tshs.
500,000 /= and / or imprisonment of a maximum term of 3 months. For possession or usage of plastic bags, a minimum fine is Tshs. 30,000 /= to a maximum of Tshs. 200,000 /= and / or imprisonment of a maximum term of 7 days.
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