Dar es Salaam. Public dump sites for plastic bags should be created as the ban on their use approaches, the government has directed.
The deputy Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration an Local Government), Mr Mwita Waitara, has directed each council around the country to allocate a plastic bags collection point for better management.
“You need to go and allocate collection points where the prohibited plastic bags will be dumped for further action by those responsible,” said Mr Waitara. He was speaking at a briefing meeting between Environment minister January Makamba and Dar es Salaam local councils to explore preparations for the June 1 ban.
Mr Waitara also said school heads should educate students on the ban and its importance so that they also would comply.
Mr Makamba directed all leaders and council directors to ensure that the ban took off smoothly. He, however, warned that the ban was not a loophole for unnecessary harassment of members of the public.
The government has published regulations on the ban of plastic bags, with violators facing up to seven days in jail or a fine of Sh30,000 on the spot.
Tanzania will join Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda as countries in the region who have banned the use of plastic bags.
The June 1 deadline will disrupt the lifestyle of members of the public who are used to plastic bags which the government is blaming for environmental degradation and as a health hazard.
According to Mr Makamba, various authorities will be mandated to collect the fines, which will be retained by the latter for implementation of other development issues.
“We expect that no person will be using plastic bags by June 1. However, this is not a chance for you to harass any person found in possession of the prohibited bags. You will need to educate and direct them to the special collection points in an orderly manner,” he told the officials.
Those fined on the spot will sign an official document as proof.
The minister said that they do not expect people to insist on using the plastic bags as the government has no plan to make money out of the move. A dispatch has also been sent to foreign missions to inform travellers of the ban.
“The authorities mandated to collect fines and monitor the implementation of these regulations are National Environmental Council (NEMC), municipal councils and local authorities. But, we want you to focus on educating the public than focusing on collecting fines,” he said.
“We have planned to start road-mobilisation using vehicles in all parts of the region. We are also insisting schools to help, and also already have banners in every entry point to the city such as Ubungo terminal,” said Dar es Salaam Regional Administrative Secretary Abubakari Kunenge.