Following the introduction of a wholesale ban on plastic bags in Tanzania, we’ve had a slew of emails from our climbers and others asking whether this rule is actually being enforced.
The ban was due to take effect on 1 June.
Almost a week later, and while the ban has indeed been introduced, it appears that the government have thus far taken a softly-softly approach when it comes to enforcement, at least as far as tourists are concerned.
There is a large sign at Kilimanjaro airport that greets you as you enter the main airport building that warns you that single-use plastic bags are not to be brought in the country. And there is a desk where you can leave behind any plastic bags you’ve ‘smuggled’ into the airport, deliberately or otherwise.
Those who’ve arrived since June 1st say that this is pretty much the only indications that this rule has actually come into effect, for those who’ve contacted us have said that their bags were not searched before they passed through customs and out of the Arrivals Hall.
So at the moment things appear to be much the same as they always have been. But, of course, this could just be a grace period before the authorities begin a crackdown on single-use plastic. They do, after all, have a reputation amongst their own citizens for being overly zealous when it comes to implementing their own rules, and while tourists are clearly seen as a vital and lucrative source of foreign exchange, we shouldn’t assume that this will necessarily give us immunity in the future.
[One more thing: we need to correct a mistake from our earlier bulletin: you’ll notice on the ‘Notice to Travellers’ that we’ve reproduced above that ‘ziploc’ bags are allowed, as it is assumed that these are designed to be reusable and not left behind in the country.’ Apologies for any inconvenience we caused by getting this wrong the first time round.]