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ENVIRONMENT: NEA commences enforcement of ban on plastic bags

Jul 24, 2015, 11:07 AM | Article By: Yai Dibba

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has started enforcing the ban on plastic bag, as the enforcement team started the operation in earnest since last week within the Greater Banjul Area.

During the operation, plastic bags were confiscated from some major business entities before giving them summon letters to appear before the court on Tuesday.

The second operation within the Grater Banjul Area also led to the confiscation of plastic bags from 20 shops including those seriously warned not to import plastic bags into the country.

Textile shops and shoe sellers were also given summons to appear before the court on Tuesday 28 July 2015.

The ban of plastic bags was enforced with the announcement that with effect from 1 July 2015, the importation and use of plastic bags in the country should be stopped.

The NEA has issued an order banning the use and importation of plastic bags in The Gambia with effect from 1 July 2015.

The offences and penalties, contained in Section 9 of the Plastic Bags Ban Order, are as follows:

1.A person whocontravenes this Order commits an offence and is liable on conviction, in the case of:

a)a manufacturer or an importer, to a term of imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than twelve months or a fine not less than two hundred thousand dalasis but not more than five hundred thousand dalasis or both the fine and imprisonment;

b)an individual who sells plastic bags, to a fine not less than two thousand dalasis but not more than five thousand dalasis; and

c)an individual who uses plastic bags, to a fine not less than one thousand dalasis but not more than three thousand dalasis.

2.All persons convicted under this Order shall be dispossessed of any available stock either in the form of raw materials or finished bags and those bags shall be taken to the appropriate store established, identified or recommended by the Agency.

3.In case of repeated offenders, they shall be liable, on conviction to double the penalty in the first instance conviction.

Speaking to this reporter in an interview, the Director of Intersectoral Network and Climate Change at the NEA, Momodou Suwareh, said the use of plastic bags has been banned totally and the President had signed the ban order to be implemented to the letter.

He said they targeted the importers who used to bring plastic bags into the country, adding that all the major importers of plastic bags were confronted and they did declare what they had.

According Mr Suwareh, this week’s operation was targeted at retailers and shopkeepers because some of the shopkeepers were informed but they seemed to have failed to comply so far.

He said the retailers they are targeting are the supermarket owners as they are using many plastic bags.

He warns that anyone found with plastic bags, whether in the supermarket or on the road, the person would be prosecuted in a court of law.