- Interim period is to find alternatives : CEA
- Biodegradable lunch sheets compulsory at shops from 01 Aug
Speaking to us, Central Environmental Authority (CEA) Chairman Siripala Amarasinghe, stated: “We have not planned to implement the ban (on lunch sheets and polythene) immediately, however, we have decided to issue a Gazette notification prior to the date of the ban while it (Gazette notification) is to be in effect from 1 January 2022.”
“This ban will affect the group who are involved in manufacturing of this particular product, transporters who engage in transporting these manufactured goods, buyers, as well as sellers,” he said, implying that aforementioned individuals would be affected financially. Therefore, a certain time period needs to be provided for them to switch into alternatives due to the to-be implemented ban.
On the inquiry of providing the alternative product options, Amarasinghe said: “We (CEA) do not provide alternatives, instead we have already conducted discussions with polythene product manufactures requesting them to find alternative in the face of this ban,” indicating that manufactures themselves have agreed upon experimenting on alternatives for these poluthen products.
The ban is, in fact, going to be implemented on several products, said the CEA Chairman. Accordingly, apart from lunch sheets, the ban is to be implemented to single use straws made of plastic, PET plastic bottles of 350 ml, plastic spoons such as yoghurt spoons, and plastic string hopper trays.
“When it comes to straws, now they (manufacturers) can go for an alternative such as reusable stainless steel straws, bamboo straws or drinking can be done without one,” he said, elaborating that the manufacturer are expected to choose any option that is eco-friendly instead of said plastic product.
By the time of the ban, the CEA Officer said that the plastic bottles which contain less than 350 ml should be finished selling, since such products cannot be sold in the market following the ban.
However, the CEA has provided relief in manufacturing polythene bags that are wider than 12 inches in height (without its handle) since the ban will be imposed for the bags smaller than the said measurements.
On an earlier occasion the Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera said: “As the Ministry of Environment, we have implemented a number of programmes for the environmental protection of our country. In particular, we have implemented the ban on polythene and plastics which are widely used in our country. We have banned five polythene and plastic products since 31 March,” indicating that the ban will further focus on another eight categories of products.
“Banning two of them would probably be controversial. That’s lunch sheets and shopping bags. These two types that cause the most pollution in our country are released into the environment in millions every day. One supermarket chain alone issues billions of shopping bags a year to consumers for free. The total amount of shopping bags discarded in the island annually is around two billion,” the Minister added elaborating on the severity of the environmental issue.
Meanwhile, recently, Minister stated that Biodegradable Lunch Sheets would be available in all shops in the country and measures would be takenmake the use of such lunch sheets compulsory.