NGOMA — The Police in Ngoma district on Wednesday confiscated an assortment of polythene bags during an operation aimed at cleaning and getting rid of polythene materials in Kibungo town.
The operation carried out on market day was conducted by a district team. It was led by the district Mayor Francois Niyotwagira, and the district police commander Superintendent Johnson Sesonga.
According to the mayor, the operation followed previous warnings on the use of polythene bags in the district. The sellers were advised to use paper envelopes. The traders said they were caught in a surprise move. Polythene material meant to wrap bread was also taken away from any shop they could be found. Loaves of bread were left packed in boxes and envelopes.
Cars that had carried bread packaged in polythene bags were also not allowed to sell. The sellers were warned not to return to the district unless they changed their packaging materials.
In a related development, over 50 people including two teachers were arrested during the swoop. Those arrested most of them below 20 years of age were accused of either selling or smoking marijuana.
Scores among them were arrested for drinking while others were accused of selling alcohol before the recommended time of operation. The two teachers were arrested for drinking during working hours. A good number of students were also caught up in the operation for loitering during school hours.
Also arrested were three girls who are allegedly sex workers in bars and also sell locally brewed beer commonly known as urwagwa.
One girl among the alleged prostitutes, stunned residents when she told Johnson Sesonga the DPC that prostitution is her profession and that, that is where she earns her living.
The unidentified teenage girl explained that she’s been carrying out her trade since she was about 14 years old. "I don’t think I can do away with this job because it is all that I have. Everything I have I got it from prostitution," she said.
A number of traders who were affected by the operation said that they were aware of the dangers of using polythene bags but they had not gotten the alternatives for packing things like sugar, salt and rice for their customers. They asked for more time to find an alternative.
Commenting on both operations, Mayor Niyotwagira said the exercise would continue to completely rid the district of the environmentally unfriendly material and prevent security risks caused by idlers most of whom misuse drugs.
"It’s now past a year since we warned them for using the polythene, but they ignored the warning," Niyotwagira said.