East Africa is poised to regulate polyethylene / Legislation must be approved by heads of state
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has enacted a tax on polyethylene packaging in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya, the five partner states of the East African Community (EAC). The parliamentary bill was initiated by Rwanda to provide a legal framework for regulating plastics consumption as a way of protecting the environment. Rwanda initially sought a total ban on manufacture or imports of plastics generally, but this was blocked by Kenya, which has a thriving plastics industry.

Estimates say that Kenya has 42 PE manufacturing plants employing more than 9,000 people directly and another 80,000 indirectly. Kenya’s legislators are said to have argued that a total ban would endanger the country’s considerable investment in the sector. Its view was that the legislation should focus on waste management through the “polluter pays” principle and that proceeds of the levies should be used to finance recycling.

As yet there appears to be some degree of uncertainty as to how the levy will finally be implemented. Before becoming official it must be approved by the heads of state of the five EAC countries. Rwanda already has a law in place. Although Uganda enacted legislation regulating PE materials in 2008, reports say it has not yet been implemented due to the lack of a concept for waste disposal and recycling. Tanzania and Burundi are thought to have supported Rwanda’s bill on the understanding that only plastic carrier bags would see curbs.
13.02.2012 [221532-0]
Published on 13.02.2012

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