Rwanda National Police (RNP) in collaboration with other security organs arrested three people in Gicumbi District, on Sunday, June 6, who were attempting to sneak 148 cartons of outlawed non-biodegradable plastic bags into the country.
Joselyne Nyirabagarura, 37, Claudine Ruryasingura, 36, and Elia Nizeyimana were at the time trafficking the toxic products from Uganda, through an illegal border point in Gisunzu Village, Mulindi Cell of Kaniga Sector.
The 148 cartons contained 29,600 pieces of polythene bags.
The District Police Commander (DPC) for Gicumbi, Superintendent of Police (SP) Jean Bosco Minani said that the suspects were arrested at about 1pm following information provided by area residents.
"They were intercepted at about 1pm after closing into Rwanda from Uganda carrying combined 148 cartons of plastic bags concealed in sacks. They disclosed that they were going to sell them to traders in Kaniga Sector," said SP Minani.
It is not the first time that the group is implicated in the same unlawful acts.
According to the suspects, they press orders from their suppliers in Uganda and meet at an agreed point on the borderline.
Their arrest came few days after three other dealers in plastic bags were intercepted in Kigali with 400 cartons of the outlawed packaging products.
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SP Minani reminded the public that selling or packaging goods in plastic bags is illegal in Rwanda due to their ill-effects on the environment.
Littered polythene bags obstruct sewer systems, hurt marine life in water bodies and can cause flooding from clogging the country’s drainage systems. They also release harmful and toxic pollutants in the air.
Manufacturing, use, importation or sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items are prohibited under article 3 of law N° 17/2019 of 10/08/2019 relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use, and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items in Rwanda.
Article 10, any person, who imports plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to the dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items, and to an administrative fine equivalent to ten times the value of those plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items.
In article 11, a wholesaler of plastic carry bags and single use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Frw700, 000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items.
In article 12, a retailer of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Frw300, 000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags.