Police in Gicumbi District have seized about 60 cartons (12, 000 pieces) of banned non-biodegradable plastic bags.
The polythene bags were seized in a police operation in Rukomo trading centre in Herezo Cell of Kageyo Sector, on Saturday.
Gicumbi District Police Commander, Chief Supt. Dan Ndayambaje said that the plastic bags were seized from a trader, who was headed to Kigali by public transport means.
“We received a call from our partner in crime prevention in Rukomo trading centre about a person, who was waiting for a vehicle and headed to Kigali with a luggage he suspected to be illegal. As the police patrol deployed to authenticate the information and take appropriate action approached the scene, the suspect fled leaving the luggage behind, which has since been seized as exhibit as we search for the culprit,” Chief Supt. Ndayambaje said.
“Although plastic bags are not a big issue in Gicumbi, the area is prone to smugglers because of its strategic location, especially through porous borders. Besides special operations, the fight against the sell and use of plastic bags is also part of usual police operations against all sorts of illegal activities including drug dealers,” he added.
“Fighting sell and use of plastic bags is a national policy that we implement jointly with other charged institutions like Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) and even the people, who are the source of information.”
The seizure comes at the time when Rwanda National Police (RNP) and REMA are intensively conducting operations and awareness against sell and use of plastic bags across the country, since December last year.
According to the law, any individual who sells the banned bags faces a penalty of between Rwf10, 000 and Rwf300,000 while buyers are fined between Rwf5,000 and Rwf100,000.
Late December, last year, the joint operation impounded at least 435,000 pieces (2, 175 cartons) of plastic bags from 212 people, majority traders, across the country, who were slapped a fine of Rwf4.5 million in total.
The non-biodegradable polythene bags have been outlawed in the country since 2008.
Most plastic bags are said to be sold or used in remote shops, bakeries, and butcheries.
According to the law, factories found using banned plastic bags are fined between Rwf100, 000 and Rwf500, 000 and jail term of between 2 and six months, or one of these penalties.