DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua)
-- Tanzania’s imminent plan to
ban use of plastic bags sparked a heated public debate
on Saturday with some people supporting the ban and
others rejecting it.
discussion hosted in Dar es Salaam by the
Vice-President’s Office that oversees the environment
docket was aimed at collecting views from the public on
the impending ban on the use of plastic bans according
to environmental laws.
after the discussions were opened by January Makamba,
Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office
responsible for Union and Environment Affairs, Tanzania
Plastic Manufacturers Association (PMAT) said instead of
banning the use of plastic bags the government should
control the use of the bags.
chairman Joseph Wasonga said the association has
submitted eight recommendations to the government
requesting it to allow them to continue producing
plastic bags with strong environmental protection
controls, including recycling them after use.
the government should control imports of plastic bags
which accounted for 70 percent of the market, hugely
contributing to environmental pollution because they
solution to this environmental problem is to produce
bio-degradable plastic bags which are environmentally
friendly,” he suggested.
He said many
countries in the word such as the United Arab Emirates
have begun to enact laws that forced industrialists to
start using raw materials that make bio-degradable
“We ask our
government to imitate this example by asking every
factory to use the same raw materials,” said Wasonga.
He said if
the ban on plastic bags was enforced the government will
lose revenues because the association paid more than 23
million U.S. dollars in terms of annual taxes.
added that PMAT employed about 6,000 Tanzanians, who
were likely to lose jobs if business was shut down.
He said if
the government went ahead with its resolve to ban the
plastic bags manufacturers were likely to lose about 50
million dollars invested in a number of factories as
most of the money was secured from bank loans.
On the other
hand, Jumanne Mgoga, Chairman of the Union for
Production of Alternative Bags, supported the
government’s decision saying plastic bags were hazardous
to the environment and human health.
appealed for stronger cooperation with the government to
eliminate the risks posed by plastic bags.
“There is a
need to change direction in order to save people’s lives
and to protect the environment,” said Mgoga.
Secretary of the Association of Alternative Bags, said
the use of plastic bags must be banned to protect both
the environment and people’s health.
available data showed that in 2050 there will be more
plastic bags in the sea than fish, calling for serious
actions to address the problem.
last year the government issued a notice of intention to
impose a total ban on plastic bags by January 1 this
said the government provided a four-month grace period
to owners of plastic bags manufacturing factories to
take specific steps by investing in an alternative bags
and plastic waste recycling facilities.
this year, Makamba told the National Assembly that the
government would impose a total ban on plastic bags
business by January, next year.
and sachets have for years been used for packing water,
alcohol and other products.
said inability of plastic bags to decompose affects soil
quality, litters various parts of the country and
contribute to the blockage of sewerage and drainage