Police in Burera District have intercepted a vehicle loaded with 60 boxes of the banned plastic bags, which were being sneaked into the country.

The non-biodegradable polythene bags were being trafficked alongside other illegal goods, in a vehicle registration number RAD 870M, which was also impounded, Police said.

Police spokesperson for the Northern region, Inspector of Police (IP) Innocent Gasasira said that the vehicle was intercepted by the marines unit after loading the illegal goods in the vehicle, which had been trafficked through Lake Burera.

“The vehicle was intercepted at about 9pm in Nyamabuye Cell of Kagogo Sect loaded with 60 boxes of plastic bags and 60 boxes of Blue Sky – an illicit gin,” IP Gasasira said.

“Two people, who were trafficking the unlawful commodities have also been taken into custody,” he added.

The non-biodegradable polythene bags have been outlawed in the country since 2008.

Article 433 of the penal code provides a term of imprisonment of between two to six months and fines of up to Rwf3 million to anyone, who manufactures or sells plastic bags.

Using polythene also attracts a fine of between Rwf5000 and Rwf100, 000 in addition to confiscation of the non-biodegradable products.

“The law is very clear; plastic bags are banned in Rwanda and that’s why it falls in the Police responsibilities and usual operations to arrest anyone found smuggling, selling or using them, but also to sensitize the people against it,” the spokesperson said.

Two months ago, Police in Burera also seized 24, 000 pieces of plastic bags, which were being trafficked from the neighbouring Uganda, and arrested four people behind the illegal act.

In February this year, Police in Gicumbi also intercepted 60 cartons of Plastic bags. In December last year, a joint operation by Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) seized 2,175 cartons (435,000 pieces) of the non-degradable bags.

The Express News

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