SOMALIA – The government of Somalia has announced a ban on the import, manufacture, trade, and use of single-use plastic bags in the country, effective June 30, 2024.

The ban, announced in a statement on February 1 by the Environment and Climate Change Ministry, is aimed at limiting the use of non-biodegradable packaging materials as part of efforts to combat global warming.

“Somalia is proactively addressing environmental issues. By prohibiting single-use plastic bags, we are committed to conserving our environment and promoting sustainable practices,” said the Environment and Climate Change Minister Khadija Mohamed Al-Makhzoumi.

“The government’s resolute commitment aims to create a cleaner and healthier environment for its citizens and future generations.”

The decree provided a five-month grace period for importers and users to adjust, urging companies and entrepreneurs in Somalia to find eco-friendly alternatives

“All businesspeople engaged in bag importation, manufacturers, retailers and commercial establishments within the country are hereby notified that as of June 30, 2024, the importation and use of single-use bags shall be prohibited,” read the statement issued by the Ministry.

Somalia’s move aligns with the proactive efforts of other East African Community (EAC) member states, including Kenya and Rwanda, which have already implemented comprehensive bans on single-use plastics.

Uganda and Tanzania, though having technically banned these plastics, encounter challenges in enforcing the ban and preventing smuggling across their borders.

Somalia has been over the years has organized initiatives to help combat plastic menace in the country.

Last year, Somali youth launched a campaign against the littering of plastic waste on the beaches of the capital, Mogadishu, infusing vitality into marine ecosystems that support livelihoods, as reported by The East African.

This initiative for environmental protection began at Mogadishu’s Liido beach in the Abdiaziz district two years ago. It started with only six volunteers, but the campaign has now grown, attracting thousands of volunteers from universities and community-based organizations.

Abdiwahab Sudi Nihaye, the assistant team leader, said: “We started cleaning the waste, especially the plastic, at the beachfront with only six volunteers.

‘We are committed to realizing our dream of seeing clean and safe beaches as part of environmental protection. The timing was also challenging because we carry out such activities early every Friday morning.”

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