Govt now mulls levy on banned single-use plastic products, carry bags imports and distribution

Tuesday October 12 2021
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According to UN Environment, the most common single-use plastics found in the environment are, in order of magnitude, cigarette butts, plastic drinking bottles and plastic bottle caps, food wrappers. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


The government is set to impose a levy on imported single-plastics products and plastic-carry bags.

This, the government said, will support implementation of legislation that bans manufacturing, importation and use of single-use products, a move that is meant to curb plastic pollution.

According to that prohibits manufacturing, importation and use of single-use plastic, imported goods packaged in plastic materials or single-use plastic items are subject to an environmental levy.

Plastic pollution led to the 2019 legislation banning single-use plastic to complete the 2008 law that banned polyethylene shopping bags.

Local Environment officials said “layers of plastic were found under the surface in the soil hindering agricultural production as plants cannot grow, while water sources were becoming highly polluted.” In a recent interview with Rwanda Today, director general of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (Rema) Juliet Kabera said Rwanda cannot ban or stop international trade but an environmental levy will be imposed on imported materials to support efficient plastic waste management.

“The fees collected are to support the safe disposal of plastic waste generated by the importers,” said Ms Kabera.


The collected fees will also be added to the Rwf 690 million fund established by the Private Sector Federation and Rema to deal with plastic waste through collection and recycling.

Ms Kabera revealed that the law relating to the environmental levy is still under the approval process and almost complete without giving specific timelines “The draft law on the same is in advanced stages and should be passed in the near future,” she said.

In its 2018 report on single-use plastics, the UNEP recommended that “to tackle the roots of the problem, governments need to improve waste management practices and introduce financial incentives to change the habits of consumers, retailers and manufacturers, enacting strong policies that push for a more circular model of design and production of plastics.”