Tanzania bans plastic bags in environmental drive

TANZANIA'S government has banned plastic bags and ordered people to stop farming and logging on Africa's highest mountain, in a series of environmental measures announced by the vice president.

The government's ban on the import, manufacture and sale of plastic bags, and plastic drinking water and juice containers will take effect in October so that manufacturers and importers have time to find alternatives, Ali Mohamed Shein, the vice-president, said on television.

"The ban of plastic bags and containers is necessary to protect our rapidly degrading environment," he said.

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It is not clear how effective the ban will be because Tanzanian environmental authorities are going to have to rely on the country's inefficient local government authorities to enforce the measures.

Mr Shein said the government had also ordered farmers and people logging trees on Mount Kilimanjaro to leave the mountain within two months. He said that 225,000 acres of trees were lost every year through indiscriminate tree felling.

Scientists have warned that Mount Kilimanjaro's glaciers may disappear by 2020 because of environmental degradation.

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