Tanzania: Tough Action Awaits Plastic Bags Importers

Dar es Salaam — The government has admitted that it was aware of some unscrupulous traders importing banned plastic carrier bags into the country, warning that they will soon face the full force of the law.

The minister of State in the Vice-President's Office (Union and Environment), Mr Mussa Zungu, said in Dar es Salaam late on Monday that the state has discovered a network of traders, who collude with their foreign counterparts to smuggle the bags into the country.

"Our investigations have revealed that some traders in neighbouring countries are colluding with Tanzanians to bring banned plastic bags in our country. We know them and we will soon bring them to book," he said.

He said the traders were importing sub-standard carrier bags that were polluting the environment besides promoting illegal and unfair competition with local industries.

He also said some of the bags in circulation were locally and illegally produced.

Mr Zungu called on the citizens to avoid buying the bags, insisting that the carrier bags, which have not been cleared by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), could be dangerous to their health.

"These bags do not have a TBS logo and do not meet the GSM 70 benchmark. We will take stern measures to protect our industries and environment," he said.

The minister said he would not accept to be part of a group that undermines the government of President John Magufuli, for plastic bags were banned since June last year.

"The ban created opportunity for making alternative bags, but this opportunity is being abused. However, we've a plan to stamp out corrupt traders."

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