A Step In The Right Direction? Rwanda Issues Complete Ban On All Single-Use Plastics

By  |  October 21, 2019

Rwanda is popularly known for its cleanliness and Kigali was earlier ranked Africa’s cleanest city.

The Paul Kagame-led country was among the first in the continent to ban non-biodegradable plastic. Not only has Rwanda banned all non-degradable plastic bags, but it also conducts community street cleaning days taking place monthly, a move which has ensured maximum cleanliness in the country.

The East African country has yet again become the first in the region to declare a complete ban on all single-use plastics: soda and water bottles, coffee stirrers, plastic carry bags, plastic containers, plastic cutlery, folders, balloons, straws, and others.

Following the embargo, retail outlets have been given a grace period of three months to phase out their stocks. On the other hand, manufacturers and industrial users single-use plastic items have been given a two-year expiration period.

“The new law is intended to check unnecessary consumption and disposal of single-use plastic items, which are harmful to the environment,” said Vincent Biruta, the Minister of Environment.

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The East African has reported that the new law forbids the use and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items as well as their importation and manufacturing.

Those caught breaking the law will have their trade licences annulled or part with huge penalties.

Biruta proposed that alternatives like paper or bamboo be used since they are not damaging to the environment. He further mentioned that the affected sectors will have to adjust to the new changes.

The new legislation comes after the country banned imports of polythene bags in 2008, a move which has been successful as, since the ban, the country has seen a reduction in animal deaths, soil erosion and flooding

For a few months now, factories making single-use plastics in Rwanda and other dealers are have been living in uncertainty as a draft law outlawing the products in the country has been in the pipeline.

Featured Image Courtesy: Time

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