Tourists traveling to Tanzania: No plastic bags or face fines or imprisonment

Tourists traveling to Tanzania: No plastic bags or face fines or imprisonment

Tourists and foreign visitors traveling to Tanzania are advised not to carry with them plastic bags on arrival at the major airports effective Saturday this week to avoid incursion by the state legal and security machinery.

Tourist companies operating in Tanzania have issued several warnings and advisories to their clients booked to visit this African tourist destination to avoid carrying with them plastic bags on their arrival at major airports, after the government of Tanzania banned plastic bags from the first day of June.

Newspapers, social media outlets, television, and radio stations across the country are sending warning messages to citizens and foreigners traveling in key business cities and towns to avoid carrying plastic bags effective this Saturday to avoid on-the-spot fines and other legal incarceration.

Any person found carrying a plastic bag will be liable to an on-the-spot fine in the amount of US$13 in local Tanzanian shillings.

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Tour operators, travel agents, airlines ,and companies with businesses in Tanzania have issued several warnings on their websites and other communication networks, telling their foreign clients to remove plastic bags from their luggage after the East African nation implemented a ban aimed at tackling pollution and protecting its fragile environment.

Airline passengers have been told to remove the non-recyclable plastic carriers before arriving – although “ziplock” bags used as part of airport security procedures are still permitted.

The British Foreign Office in London has advised Britons looking to visit Tanzania, its former colony, to surrender their plastic bags on arrival at the airports. About 75,000 British tourists visit Tanzania every year.

Tanzania has joined other countries in the world to implement a ban on plastic bags in tackling plastic waste.

The ban, which comes into effect on June 1 targets all plastic bags “imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied, and used.”

Zanzibar Island, which is part of Tanzania, outlawed plastic bags in 2006 and announced proposals for a country-wide ban in 2015.

Kenya, the leading tourist destination in East Africa, banned plastic bags in 2017, with those caught manufacturing or carrying the single-use items facing up to 4 years in prison or a fine.

Rwanda, South Africa, and Eritrea are among the more than 30 sub-Saharan African nations to have their own plastic bag bans; the former insists on bag searches for travelers entering the country.

The West African nation of Mauritania banned plastic bags in 2013 to save its livestock. Three-quarters of cattle and sheep were killed in the country’s capital, Nouakchott, after eating plastic waste.

Several warnings have been issued to alert all travelers arriving to Tanzania to take a note of the advisory in order to avoid delays on arrival at any of airports.

The warnings circulated by tourist and travel companies said that all passengers arriving at any Tanzania airport, including tourists, can possibly face very heavy fines for using plastic bags in any way, shape, or form.

Use, manufacture, or importation of plastic bags, including shopping bags, is illegal from the said date. Offenders, including tourists, could face very heavy fines.

“Visitors alike are advised to avoid packing any plastic bags in their suitcases or in carry-on hand luggage before flying to Tanzania. Items purchased at the airport before boarding the aircraft should be removed from plastic bags,” a travel warning notice seen by eTN warned.

Similarly, the transparent “zip-lock” plastic bags that some airlines require passengers to use for keeping liquids, cosmetics, toiletries, and other uses are also not permitted to be brought and should be left on the plane before disembarking.