Burundi government bans import of plastic bags from August 22nd

Déo Guide Rurema, Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock has said all imports of plastic bags, non-biodegradable bags and raw materials used to manufacture them are prohibited from August 22nd and all authorizations already granted for this purpose will be canceled.

Burundi government encourages the use of biodegradable bags in the country

“A person who will be caught after the grace period, in possession of a plastic bag will be punished in accordance with the law in force,” said the Minister at a press conference.

The Environment Minister has also said imports of plastic bags have increased over the past few days and the production has significantly increased at the national level due to the increase in raw materials. “This justifies the large number of plastic bags available on the market,” he says.
The Burundian government had issued a decree banning the import of plastic bags on 8 August 2018. A grace period of 18 months was granted to importers to empty all stocks.

Referring to Burundi Revenue Authority data, the comparative analysis shows that imports of plastic bags for 11 months before the decree was issued (from August 2017 to July 2018) moved from 1,356,028 packages to 179,967,500 after the decree ( from August 2018 to August 2019). For the raw materials, the imports moved from 944,213 kg to 2,443,891 kg.

Mr. Rurema said there are some people whose imports of plastic bags have significantly increased. He gives an example of a trader whose imports moved from 700 packages before the decree to 55,038,618 packages after the decree was issued. Concerning the raw materials, one of the importers has increased his imports from 364,566 kg before the decree to 997,382 kg after the decree.

Minister Déo Guide Rurema encourages those who wish to import or produce plastic bag substitutes to start doing so.