The Tanzanian government has issued a notice to all travelers that all plastic carrier bags will be prohibited from being "imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in mainland Tanzania."
Airline passengers have been told to remove the nonrecyclable plastic carriers before arriving -- although "zip-lock" bags used as part of airport security procedures are still permitted.
"The government does not intend for visitors to Tanzania to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban. However, the government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from this," the notice reads.
The tourism industry has welcomed the ban on plastic. Judi Wineland, owner of the Gibb's Farm resort in Tanzania, said: "I'm extremely happy that Tanzania will now join over 30 other African countries with bans or taxes on plastic bags. The continent is leading the world in taking an effective, decisive stance on the environmental crisis being caused by plastic waste. We're also pleased that the measures take into account the practical needs of travelers; for example, the zip-lock bags that so many of us use for bringing toiletries on the plane will be allowed based on the assumption that guests will reuse them on the flight home."
Wineland said that this is a step in the right direction when it comes to creating a world without plastic. "When South Africa became the first African country to start charging for plastic bags in 2004, a lot of bans and taxes also followed in nearby countries over the years. Now, Rwanda, for example, is aiming to be the world's first plastic-free country thanks to a 2008 ban on nonbiodegradable plastic," she said. "Hopefully, the same pattern will occur and the reliance on plastics will decrease over the coming years."