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Rwanda tightens campaign towards permanent elimination of Single use plastic Items

Single use plastic products are to fade on Rwandan markets due to the law that bans them to be sold in Rwanda.

Referring to the law No 17/2019 of 10th August 2019 relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items that was published in the official gazette, the government of Rwanda has decided to fully ban all single use plastics in order to have a wealthy and developed country that is friendly to the environment products.

Though the law was published, still the country faces the issue of traders who illegally import these products especially plastic bags and sell them on local markets.

Traders who spoke to TOPAFRICANEWS website, said that they always see other businessmen bringing products with plastic packaging insisting that such packaging is allowed.

“They bring them and when we tell them that such packaging is not allowed on Rwandan market, they tell us that it’s a lie because it can’t enter the country without official authorization.” Revealed Mary currently doing her business in Gasabo District.

“It should be better if government comes and shows us what is allowed and what is not allowed as we are really confused. We always do our business with fear of being fined over this issue” another trader in Gasabo district told TOPAFRICANEWS on condition of anonymity.

Some items like drinking straws are still being sold yet they are banned since 1st February 2020
Soon item which are packaged in plastic bags will not be allowed to enter in Rwanda

Rwanda’s Minister of environment Dr. Jeanne D’Arc Mujawamariya revealed that some items confuse people on knowing if they are allowed or not.

The Minister was speaking at a Press Briefing held on 12th February 2020 at the headquarters of Rwanda Environment Management (REMA)

Minister Mujawamariya also admits that there is lack of enough awareness on which Items are allowed or not.

However, she adds, the concerned institutions are planning to do outreach campaigns to teach people about the Government’s initiatives on banning single use plastics.

 “The main problem is that people out there do not have enough information about what is banned and what is allowed to be sold or used. So, what we are going to do is that very soon we will start campaigns through media and outreach programs to show people what they should use or not.” She revealed.

Minister Mujawamariya showing some items which are prohibited though some were thinking that they are authorized.

Recalling on the issue of fining those who still use or sell banned products, Minister Mujawamariya said:

“The government of Rwanda is not targeting punishments or fining people. We will first of all teach them but if they don’t follow the rules they will be fined as provided by the law.”

The law provides fines to all type of manufacturing, selling and using of single use plastics from 50 thousand to 10 million Rwandan francs once he/she is found guilty of violating it.

Wholesale dealers caught selling single-use plastic products face an administrative fine of Rwf700,000, in addition to confiscation of their products. On the other hand, retailers will be penalised with Rwf300,000 fines and have their products seized.

The law adds that those who will be caught dumping single-use plastics at unsuitable sites will pay a fine of Rwf50,000.

Industries that use single use plastics in packaging were given two years to look for another alternative.
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