DAR-ES- SALAAM, Tanzania, Mar 1 – A ban on alcohol sold in plastic sachets will come into force in Tanzania this week, the government said Wednesday, as it seeks to protect the environment and curb youth boozing.
The import, manufacture, sale and consumption of the 50 millilitre alcoholic sachets the size of a double shot and commonly containing gin, rum, vodka, whisky or other spirits will be banned with effect from March 2, said environment minister January Makamba.
President John Magufuli announced the ban last year.
The sachets sell for as little as $0.25, putting intoxicating liquor within reach of even the poorest while the discarded sachets clog drains and litter the streets.
The sachet ban is expected to upset businessmen, some of whom make huge profits from their sale, as well as drinkers who will be forced to pay more for bottled alcohol, but will be welcomed by religious leaders, teachers and parents.
The easily-concealed bags of booze are especially popular among school students who can be seen sucking on the sachets between classes or at the start of the school day.
In some places the sachets sell faster than soft drinks or donuts and, when discarded, are an eyesore. When the wind blows they float in the sky like filthy confetti.
The sachet ban comes after the government launched an anti-drugs campaign last month.
Several African countries such as Ivory Coast, Senegal, Malawi and Rwanda have already imposed bans on alcohol sachets.