REMA once again issues warning on the Use of Plastic Items on Rwandan soil
By Isabella Iradukunda Elisabeth
The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has once again warned users of single use plastic Items on Rwandan soil, adding that those who will be caught in the act will be punished by environmental laws, TOPAFRICANEWS reports.
Rwanda enacted a law in 2019 prohibiting the manufacturing, importation, use and sale of single-use plastic items, tightening a 2008 ban that prohibits the importation and use of polythene bags.
Under the law, people who manufacture, import or sell polythene bags and single-use plastic items are liable to dispossession of those items and an administrative fine between 300,000 Rwandan francs (about 330 U.S. dollars) and 10 million francs (about 11,000 dollars).
On April 30, 2021, REMA in collaboration with the National Police and journalists checked various locations in Kigali to monitor the use of plastic bags including sachets.
Checked areas including well-known places such as Giporoso-Kabeza and in Kicukiro district in Supermarkets.
REMA reminds that the use of materials such as plastic bags and the use of single-use plastics is illegal and that those caught will be punished as per the law.
REMA says people should change their mind and stop single use plastic items because they are harmful to the environment.
The Authority states that there are some items that are allowed to use plastic items but users are also required to have the permission from REMA.
Traders and others who need wrapping materials should look for solutions to find more packages for shoppers in order to avoid legal penalties. This is also in terms of environmental protection.
Some of the traders who were caught with these illegal bags and plastic items said that the fact that they were caught was because they did not know that such items are illegal.
They said they have difficulties distinguishing between the legal and illegal ones adding the blame should be put on those who import them.
The Deputy Director General of REMA, Faustin Munyazikwiye said no one should say that he/she is unaware because when the law was issued it was up to the buyer and seller and even for those who come outside of the country.
Munyazikwiye said, “Although the government and non-governmental organizations are doing their best to prevent any illegal entry, there are still some who use the shortcuts to smuggle such items on the market.
“That’s why we always do inspections where we find them and punish them because the law applies to everyone who buys and sells. It is in this context that various agencies have been set up to monitor the situation at the border and in the country. “
The ongoing search for replacement packaging bags is currently underway with 5 factories manufacturing other approved materials that can be used for packaging to prevent environmental damage.
The law also stipulates that in the event that the product is to be packaged or has no replacement for plastic or non-perishable materials, REMA may grant special rights to the person who has the product to pack and thus be certified but meet the requirements.
The campaign in Kigali will continue in various other places so that everyone can learn to protect the environment and avoid penalties.