KIGALI, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda launched on Wednesday an awareness campaign to cease the use of single-use plastics in the country as stipulated in a law enacted last year.
"The law against single-use plastics was passed last year, but people continue to use the banned plastics which pose a serious threat to our environment and planet," Rwandan Minister of Environment Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya told a press conference in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.
The ban on single-use plastic items is part of an international effort to reduce environmental pollution and people should consider alternatives to single-use plastics, said Mujawamariya.
Single-use plastic items that are used only once before being thrown away or recycled such as plastic straws, water bottles, coffee stirrers and disposable dishes are prohibited in Rwanda and those caught dealing in those plastics will be punished by law, she added.
The year-long campaign will involve seizing all single-use plastic items from shops, hotels and restaurants and those violating the ban will face harsh penalties.
Rwanda enacted a law in 2019 prohibiting the manufacturing, importation, use and sale of single-use plastic items, tightening a 2008 ban that prohibits the importation and use of polythene bags.
Under the law, people who manufacture, import or sell polythene bags and single-use plastic items are liable to dispossession of those items and an administrative fine between 300,000 Rwandan francs (about 330 U.S. dollars) and 10 million francs (about 11,000 dollars).