EA assembly in push to limit use of plastic bags
The East African Legislative Assembly plans to reintroduce a bill to regulate the manufacture, sale, importation and use of polythene materials to conserve the environment.
MP Valerie Nyirahabineza on Sunday said the bill will be subjected to public participation in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
The use of polythene bags has already been banned in Rwanda. Tanzania has said it will impose a total ban on polythene bags and switch to recyclable materials.
Nyirahabineza expressed concerns about the massive heaps of polythene materials at the Nyalenda grounds in Kisumu town when she visited for a cleanup during the Lake Victoria Basin Commission’s 10-year anniversary celebrations.
She represented EALA speaker Daniel Kidega.
Nyirahabineza was accompanied by EAC deputy secretary general Christophe Bazivamo, Tanzania’s Natural Resources deputy minister Ramo Makani, LVBC deputy executive secretary Terry Muramira, Kenya’s Water PS Fred Segor, Kisumu county commissioner Maalim Mohammed and Population, Health and Environment regional coordinator Doreen Othero.
“We hope you will support us and give us feed back to enrich the bill. When this bill (The East Africa Community Polythene Materials Control Bill) was first introduced in the assembly, it received wide support. We are determined to regulate the use and production of polythene materials,” Nyirahabineza said.
She urged the public to attend the participation forums. “Come forward when we invite you and give us ideas which will eventually be reflected in the draft bill before it is considered by the assembly and before it is assented to by the heads of state summit,” Nyirahabineza said.
She raised concerns about the proliferation of factories producing polythene materials.
“Our aim is not to stop investments, but we should really put regulations in place,” Nyirahabineza said.
Segor said the use of polythene materials should be regulated.
“The use of plastic materials is a thorny issue not only in the region but in the country. There have been debates about regulation of use of polythene materials. We hope to have uniform legislation across the East African region,” he said.