Banned plastic bags seized

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In a joint operation conducted by Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (RNP) across the country, seized about 2, 175 cartons (435, 000 pieces) of banned plastic bags.

The polythene bags were seized from 212 people, who were handed varied penalties including fines amounting to Rwf4.5 million, according to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Morris Murigo, the acting Commissioner of Criminal Intelligence Department (CID).

The Eastern region recorded a high number of seized plastic bags totaling to 1, 351 packets.

“We found most plastic bags in town centers, shops, bakeries, and butcheries among others; public is a key player in the fight against unscrupulous people who smuggle and trade in polythene bags that threaten the environment and people’s lives,” said ACP Murigo.

“People need to know that non-biodegradable polythene bags are banned and we caution anyone who attempt to deal in them, be it manufacturing, selling or using it…it is illegal and punishable by law.”

Use of plastic bags was prohibited in 2008. From then, several mechanisms including legal provisions against use of plastic bags have been adopted.

According to article 433 of the Penal Code, “any person who sells polythene without authorisation shall be liable to a fine of Rwf10, 000 to Rwf300, 000.

Using polythene bags also attract a fine of up to Rwf100, 000, but in case the person repeats the offence, the penalty is doubled.

“We appeal to the public maintain the spirit and always report anyone dealing in any materials that degrade the environment,” ACP Murigo said.

The Operation came in light of a recent concerns forwarded by the Director General of REMA, Eng. Coletha U. Ruhamya during the recent Police-Media interaction session where she sought out support from all concerned stakeholders in fighting smuggling and distribution of plastic bags.

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