Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza signed a law in August 2018 that bans the importation, manufacturing, selling and use of plastic bags and products. PHOTO|FILE: BurundiTimes
Burundi’s agriculture and environment minister Déo Guide Rurema on Tuesday announced that the country is banning the importation of plastic bags in efforts to conserve the environment. While addressing the press in Bujumbura the minister said that his office was concerned over the increased volumes of plastic bags imported in the country, “if the use and the importation of plastic bags continues on the same rate it will be difficult to ban the product on within the time frame given by the head of state.”
Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza signed a law in August 2018 that bans the importation, manufacturing, selling and use of plastic bags and products, the 2018 law provided eighteen months timeframe to phase out the use and the selling of the product.
As the total ban of the use of plastic bags is expected to take effect in six months’ time, Burundi government said that there was a significant increase of the importation and the use of plastic bags in the country hence sparking the ban of the importation of the product which is to take effect on August 22nd .
“Whoever will be caught after the deadline given will be punished according to the law… importers should now consider importing other packaging products made of papers or degradable materials,” said Mr. Rurema.
The importation of plastic bags in Burundi eleven months prior to the signing of the new law in 2018 was estimated at 1.35 million, however the number increased drastically eleven months after the signing to over 178 million plastic bags or an increase of 13,000 percent.
“The users of plastic bags don’t exceed 20 minutes of use but the consequences of a plastic is that it degrades only after 200 years,” he added.
Burundi environment minister indicated that the move to ban the product was not only for the present benefit of the country, but also for the future generation to conserve the environment.
According to Burundian authorities, factories that use plastic bottles or packaging before being authorized to import the products will be required to indicate how the imported products will be collected after use, and get recycled in order to conserve the environment.
The move for Burundi to ban plastic bags comes after East African Community (EAC) member states of Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania banned the manufacturing, selling and the use of plastic bags. Burundi was the only EAC member state yet to regulate or ban the use of the plastic bags.