July 12, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has taken measures to ban or restrict the use of polythene to minimize impact of disposing such items on the environment.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment has proposed implementing a set of short term, medium term and long term measures to minimize the use of polythene
The activities recommended by the committee of intellectuals appointed to study the polythene received the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Short term measures proposed by the President include:
- Prohibition of polythene use for decorations in all events
- Implement the prevailing regulations for prohibition of use, sale and production of polythene equals or less than 20 microns.
- Allow use of polythene less than 20 microns for essential activities only on the approval of Central Environmental Authority
- Prohibition of sale, importation and production of lunch sheets
- Prohibition of sale, importation and production of containers, plates, cups, spoons made using polystyrene
- Prohibition of sale of processed or cooked meals packed in polythene containers
- Promotion of providing paper, cloth or reed bags or biologically degradable plastics for customers when purchasing items in stores
- Prohibition of burning polythene and plastic in open places
- Introduction and promotion of biologically degradable polythene and plastics
Midterm activities include provision of tax concessions in importation of machinery used in biologically degradable plastic productions and imposing a cess tax of 15% on importation of plastic row material and goods.
The government hopes to completely ban the recycled plastic products in long term.
Meanwhile, the Central Environment Authority (CEA) said the use, production, import and sale of polythene lunch sheets and shopping bags, and Rigifoam items would be banned under the new regulation, with effect from 1st of September.