Polythene bags impounded by police during police month

The environmental protection campaign proceeded throughout the nation on Thursday, focusing on combating the  sale and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

In operations carried out in all districts across the country, varied quantities of prohibited plastic bags were seized.

In Gakenke District alone, at least 1,600 cartons of polythene bags were confiscated by police and local leaders.

Similar activities in Eastern Province counties resulted in the seizure of 740 cartons of nylon bags.

At least five boxes of non-biodegradable products were also removed from stores in Kigali City.

The activities were carried out particularly in trading centers where police and local officials confiscated the  prohibited plastic products from the shelves.

Scores of individuals caught either selling or using plastic bags were also fined as provided by law.

The week- long environmental protection campaign is component of the continuing ‘ Police Month, ‘ now in its third week.

The first and second week concentrated on increasing awareness of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy, respectively.

Thursday’s environmental protection operations also included the collection of littered plastic products, including  bottles and polythene bags.

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Other banned plastic products were seized from rural traffickers as they were being sneaked into the country through illegal border posts, especially in the Northern Province.

“Police are always alert against unscrupulous traders who smuggle polythene bags into the country and other contrabands, we thank residents who inform the Police on people who traffic and sell these products which destroy the environment,” said Chief Inspector of Police  (CIP) Alexis Rugigana,  the Police spokesperson for the Northern region.

He clarified that smuggling facilitates the ongoing existence of plastics bags, particularly in districts bordering  neighboring nations.

Polythene bags cause pollution of soil, air and water. They are harmful to the environment as they impact the  permeability of water in the soil. When discarded in landfills or in the atmosphere, plastics can take up to many years to decompose, others never decompose.

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In 2008, Rwanda prohibited the manufacture, import, use and sale of non- biodegradable plastic products, gaining global recognition in environmental conservation.

Article 7 of the law prohibiting the manufacture, importation, use and sale of polythene bags in Rwanda states that industries producing polythene bags, business businesses or any individual discovered in possession of banned  polythene bags without authorisation in their shops, manufacturing or using them, shall be punished by an imprisonment of six to twelve months and a fine of Rwf100, 000 to Rwf500, 000 or one of the two penalties.

The same paper also says that “any unauthorized individual who sells polythene bags shall be punished with a fine  ranging from Rwf10, 000 to Rwf300, 000.

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Any unauthorized individual who uses polythene bags also faces a fine from Rwf5000 to Rwf100, 000.

Rwandans were encouraged to stand up against the use of plastic bags or purchasing products packed in plastic bags during distinct campaigns across the nation.

They were told to use khaki envelopes that are environmentally friendly, hygienic and used as the finest alternative  packaging.

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