Big volumes of polythene bags impounded

On 3 August 2019 at 03:20

An ongoing environmental protection campaign across the country with a focus on fighting the sale and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags have led to the seizure of prohibited plastic material wherein Gakenke District alone, Police and local leaders impounded at least 1,600 cartons of polythene bags and 740 cartons in Eastern Province.

At least five boxes of the non-biodegradable products were also taken from shops in the City of Kigali.

The operations were specially conducted in trading centers where Police and local leaders seized the banned plastic products from shelves.

Scores of people caught either selling or using plastic bags were also fined as the law provides.

The week-long environmental protection campaign is part of the ongoing ’Police Month’, which is now in its third week.

The first and the second weeks focused on raising awareness against narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy.
Environmental protection activities on Thursday also included collecting littered plastic products; bottles and polythene bags.

Other banned plastic products were seized from traffickers in the countryside as they were being sneaked into the country through illegal border posts, especially in the Northern Province.

“Police are always alert against unscrupulous traders who smuggle polythene bags into the country and other contrabands, we thank residents who inform the Police about people who traffic and sell these products which destroy the environment,” said Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Alexis Rugigana, the Police spokesperson for the Northern region attributing continued presence of plastic bags especially in the districts bordering neighboring countries is facilitated by smuggling.

Polythene bags cause land, air, and water pollution. They are hazardous to the environment since they affect water permeability in the soil.

In 2008, Rwanda banned manufacturing, importation, use, and sale of non-biodegradable plastic products, earning international recognition in environment conservation.

Article 7 of the law relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use and sale of polythene bags in Rwanda, states that industries which manufacture polythene bags, commercial companies or any person found in possession of prohibited polythene bags without authorization in their stores, manufacturing or using them, shall be punished by an imprisonment of six to twelve months and a fine of Rwf100, 000 to Rwf500, 000 or one of the two penalties.

The same article also states that “any unauthorized person, who sells polythene bags shall be punished by a fine ranging from Rwf10, 000 to Rwf300, 000.

Any unauthorized person who uses polythene bags also faces a fine of Rwf5000 to Rwf100, 000.

Scores of people caught either selling or using plastic bags were also fined as the law provides.