President issues Gazette Extraordinary banning shopping bags

President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Mahaweli Development and Environment Minister, yesterday issued a Gazette Extraordinary giving effect to blanket ban on shopping bags, lunch sheets and regifoam lunch boxes throughout the country.

The Gazette Extraordinary contains six orders under the National Environmental Act No. 47 of 1980.

They prohibit “manufacture, sale, offer for sale, offer free of charge, exhibition or use” of polythene or any polythene product that are 20 microns and below, lunch sheets, grocery bags, food containers (lunch boxes), plates, cups, and spoons from expanded polystyrene.

Garbage bags of 600 mm or above in length, 260 mm or above in width and 900 mm or above in height are exempted from the ban. Textile bags of 400 mm or above in length and 500 mm or above in height are also exempted from the ban.

If anybody wants to use polythene or any polythene product less than 20 microns in thickness for any special purpose, prior written approval must be sought from the Central Environmental Authority.

The President in another Gazette Extraordinary also prohibited using all forms of polythene for “decorative purposes” at “political, social, religious, national, cultural or any other event or occasion”.

As per the regulations issued in the Gazette Extraordinary, open burning of refuse and other combustible matters inclusive of plastics has been prohibited.

All the orders and regulations are effective countrywide from yesterday.

The use of certain types of plastics and polythene has been permitted for laminating purposes and medical or pharmaceutical purposes in the absence of any other suitable alternative. 

 

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