SOME traders in carrier bags at Kilombero Market in Arusha City have abandoned their shops after the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) initiated a campaign in the Northern Zone against plastic bags and others that are not approved by the Council.
It has emerged that Arusha still has lots of unapproved carrier bags and NEMC has thrown its weight to ensure the 'Geneva of Africa' gets rid of them soon.
The crackdown seeks to remove from use bags that are not in line with the Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS) ratings.
Speaking while undertaking the operation, NEMC Northern Zone Environmental Inspector, Ms Nancy Nyenga, said they noticed availability of the bags that are bad for the environment of which huge per cent do not have any logo and are generally below the required standards.
The Prohibition of Plastic Carrier Bags Regulations of 2019 provides that all plastic carrier bags, regardless of their thickness, are prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in Mainland Tanzania.
The law further requires that no person shall sell or offer for sale beverages or other commodities wrapped in plastics unless the nature of such commodities require wrappings by plastics.
She said that carrier bags should be of 70 Gram per Square Metre (GSM), must be recyclable, show carrying capacity and are approved by TBS.
Ms Nyenga said that some dishonest people have been producing, supplying and selling unapproved bags that are non-woven.
Arusha City Council Head of Environment, Mr Allan Lushokana, said the operation against unapproved carrier bags is sustainable, issuing a stern warning to producers, suppliers, sellers and users of bags that are below standard, as the law would take its course against all of them.
Mr Lushokana said there has also been unacceptable use of soft bags that are meant for packaging and not for carrying, ordering the public to stop forthwith the misuse.
Some sellers of unapproved carrier bags were able to escape during the operation here.
However, some were arrested and fined in line with the law and when interviewed said that more awareness campaigns are needed so that the traders and the general public understand clearly of what bags exactly are not allowed.
The operation has been taking place in the Northern Zone, going through the Longido district at Kenyan border at Namanga.
Tanzania entered world history books as the ban imposed on the production, supply and use of plastic bags came into effect, thus becoming one of the 128 nations that have taken stern measures to curb environmental pollution.