Tanzania: Fight On Plastic Bags Need Awareness, Minister

LAW enforcement, knowledge and understanding on the part of the public are twin equal weapons that will be used to successfully enforce the ban on plastic bags, Mr January Makamba said in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

In a simultaneous radio and TV interview, Mr Makamba, the Minister of State in Vice- President's Office, (Union and Environment), said the ban will be enforced legally, further explaining that knowledge and broad understanding were key in winning people's voluntary compliance on the ban.

But, he added that stubborn culprits will not go unpunished, saying that the bags were a big danger to lives and the environment, adding that the ban sought to protect public health and called for public cooperation. "We shall use both techniques.

The vast majority of our people do not know the intrinsic terrible dangers to human life associated with the use of the plastic bags. We shall continue to educate people on those unseen dangers.

At the same time we shall use the law to enforce the ban," he elaborated. The minister said the environment must be protected because, he said, it is kingpin to the survival of the present and future generations.

He said the government knows that in enforcing the ban, various challenges will emerge as a result of lack of information on the part of the public.

"This ban will not be devoid of barriers, noise and even threats from users and manufacturers. We have braced ourselves to deal with all these occurrences," he assured.

Last week, the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) said it will enforce the ban using the Environment Act and its regulations.

Director General of NEMC, Dr Samuel Gwamaka said efforts will be made to educate the public on the usefulness of the ban, and called on people to observe government deadline to avoid punishment once the time limit is over.

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