23 May 2019

Tanzania: Plastic Bags Ban Seen Blessing in Disguise

SOME supermarkets and shop owners see the plastic bags ban which begins next week a blessing in disguise as they will no longer have to buy the shopping bags that are provided to customers free of charge.

These plastic shopping bags are factored into the cost of doing business for the supermarkets and their ban means the supermarkets will save some earnings used for purchasing the bags.

A spot survey by the 'Daily News' in some shops and supermarkets in Dar es Salaam and Arusha showed that business owners will save between 30,000/- and 1.0m/- used to buy plastic shopping bags.

The Manager of Imalaseko Supermarket at the Dar's central business district, Ms Lommy Jumanne, said they were spending about 900,000/- per month to purchase the bags.

"We are going to save but the important message is the move will help to keep the city clean and free from plastic pollution, especially along the cost of the Ocean," she said.

The supermarket supports the ban and they have already found alternative bags for their customers, she said.

A shopkeeper at 'Tabata Shule' in Tabata, Ilala, Dar es Salaam, Ms Upendo Mrosso, said they use about 15,000/- per day and 450,000/- per week for buying the plastic bags.

"The move would remove that unnecessary cost because the customers will now come with their alternative bags for shopping," she said.

A mini-supermarket owner at Segerea Mwisho bus stand, Fred Shoo said the cost of buying plastic bags at 400,000/- a month almost equals the salary of a shop attendant.

"Yes it is a good move that will not only save the environment but also lower our running costs," Mr Shoo said.

Mary Mrema a shop attendant situated near Lufungila bus stop in Mwenge area of Dar es Salaam city said she was afraid she would lose customers due to lack of alternative bags.

"I will save some money but currently I am losing customers because they refuse to carry cold bottles of water and sodas without shopping bags and I cannot buy them paper bags due to moist ," she said.

In Arusha shop keepers at Sanawari area said they are spending a lot of money on buying plastic bags and the ban will enable them saving extensively.

Generally the survey showed that some food vendors in Dar es Salaam have also stopped using plastics bags to keep the food warm and switched to alternative methods.

They use to put portions of stiff porridge, common as 'ugali' in Kiswahili, into plastic bags and put them in pots of hot water to keep the food warm.

The business owners are happy since the burden of procuring shopping bags will shift from shop owner to buyers thus changing the life style of going shopping.

The ban impose heavy fine of between 30,000/- and 200,000/- or a seven-day imprisonment or both for those found with the bags.

Most praises the government move where some said it was long overdue because the bags are difficult to deal at thus polluting the environment great time.

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