Zanzibar bars import, production, use and sale of plastic bags

Published: Friday 15 December 2006

The island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, has banned the import, production, use and sale of plastic bags below 30 microns size. Violators risk jail sentences of six months, a fine of us $2,000 or both.

The move by the semi-autonomous island government is to protect its environment and tourism industry, which is the backbone of its economy. The archipelago falls on a major route for plastic bags heading for the east African countries; more than 200 tonnes of such bags pass through its ports every month. Zanzibar is facing an environmental crisis, as it has failed to deal with its waste: it can barely treat 10 per cent of its total sewage and dispose a third of the solid waste. Plastic industry claims that the ban will lead to an exchequer loss of us $400,000 per month.

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