If you are heading to Tanzania anytime soon, either on a Kilimanjaro Expedition, Serengeti Safari, or Zanzibar Beach Holiday, you should be aware that plastic carrier bags now banned, and you could be subject to an on-the-spot fine if you attempt to bring a plastic bag into the country.
On 1st June, in line with the Plastics Carrier Bags Regulations 2019, Tanzania joined 33 other sub-Saharan African countries with an outright ban on single-use plastic carrier bags. This includes the import, export, manufacturing, sale, storage, supply, and use of plastic carrier bags, regardless of their thickness, and applies to both residents and travellers visiting the country.
Anyone found carrying a plastic bag in Tanzania will be fined up to $13, and those who attempt to manufacture plastic bags in the country could face a two-year prison sentence or a fine of up to $400,000.
Following in the footsteps of Rwanda, where plastic bags were banned more than a decade ago, and Kenya, which has one of the toughest plastic bag bans in the world (you can get fined up to $38,000 just for using one!) Tanzania is paving the way for the rest of the world in a move that has been applauded by environmentalists.
Tourists are being advised to surrender any plastic bags before entering the Tanzania to prevent lengthy security checks at entry points such as Kilimanjaro International Airport, although Ziploc bags are allowed for personal items, as long as you take them with you when leaving the country.
Here is the full statement released by the Republic of Tanzania Vice Presidents Office:
“The Government of Tanzania wishes to make an official note to travellers planning to visit Tanzania that from 1st June 2019 all plastic carrier bags, regardless of their thickness will be prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in Mainland Tanzania.
Visitors to Tanzania are advised to avoid carrying plastic carrier bags or packing plastic carrier bags or items in plastic carrier bags in the suitcase or hand luggage before embarking on visit to Tanzania. Special desk will be designated at all entry points for surrender of plastic carrier bags that visitors may be bringing into Tanzania.
Plastic carrier items known as “Ziploc bags” that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country.
The Government does not intend for visitors to Tanzania to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban. However, the Government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from the plastic bags ban.”
So there you have it! Leave your plastic bags at home, or better still, stop using them altogether, if the people of East Africa can do it, I’m sure we can too!