By Michel Nkurunziza
The Government has granted a three-month grace period to importers and retailers of single-use plastic items to phase them out before starting to penalize them.
Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Environment, made the announcement during a news conference on Monday.
The items include single-use plastic packaging materials for food and other products, plastic straws, plastic spoons and forks, plastic knives, plastic cups and dishes, balloons among others.
However, the minister explained that single-use plastic bottles are not targeted in the crackdown.
The move is part of implementing the law relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items.
The single-use plastic items are said to pollute the environment such as blocking water channels and preventing water from penetrating into the soil, thus triggering flooding.
The 2017 marine environment report confirmed that many marine biodiversities such as fish and birds die from consuming plastic items, Biruta said.
Globally, Birura says, research shows that 300 million tonnes of plastics are manufactured every year, including five billions of plastic bags and so many millions of plastic bottles while half of all plastics are single-use items.
Biruta said that products such as food, drugs, and medical equipment that are seen to lose quality if they do no use plastic materials as the packaging will be tolerated but the businesses have to sign an agreement with the ministry for their management, including taking them to recycling plants…Read more>>