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Polythene ban in full force from January 1

Central Environment Authority Chairman Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri and senior CEA officials. (Picture by Wasitha Patabendige)

The law banning the use and production of polythene less than 20 microns will be strictly implemented from January 1, 2018.

Central Environment Authority Chairman Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri said offenders will be subject to a fine of not more than Rs 10,000 and or a jail sentence of not more than two years.

Addressing the media at the Central Environment Authority (CEA) yesterday, the Chairman said that the ban on polythene was officially announced on September 1.

 But considering the repeated requests made by the Polythene Manufacturer’s Association, the time period was extended upto January 1, 2018.

The association had requested a grace period claiming that the time frame which had been provided to them to adapt to the new law is insufficient to replace their existing products and to clear the stock of banned products already manufactured by them.

Prof. Dharmasiri said the CEA has already taken action to inspect polythene manufacturing companies with the assistance of the Police, Sri Lanka Standards Institution and the Consumer Affairs Authority. The CEA has already conducted raids to apprehend those who engage in illegal polythene manufacturing.

Raids to nab wholesale shop owners still using polythene bags and other banned products will be conducted from January 1 and retail shops will also be monitored later, he added.

The CEA has also taken measures to implement a ban on the import of recycled plastic raw materials from July 31, to encourage local plastic recyclers.

The President has also instructed the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to ban the use of polythene during the upcoming election campaign and strictly enforce the law against people who violate the polythene ban.

Gazette Notification No 2034/37, has prohibited the use of all forms of polyethylene, polypropylene and polyethylene products or polypropylene products as decorations in political, social religious, national, cultural or any other event or occasion.