Shopping bags, lunch sheets, a threat to environment - Minister

About 100 billion shopping bags are issued to consumers every year by our supermarket chains and 10 million lunch seats are added to the environment every day, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

The Minister made this observation while participating in a programme at Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo yesterday to mark the ‘World Earth Day’. The programme was jointly organized by the Environment Ministry and the Colombo Municipal Council.

“Many people today think that protecting the environment is just about planting trees. Today, however, plastics and polythene pose a serious threat to the entire world. Our country is the only country in the world that uses lunch sheets. The population of our country is 21 million. Every day 10 million lunch seats are added to the environment by the people of our country,” he underlined.

“The supermarket chains also confirm that billions of shopping bags are released into our environment each year. However, in the end all this joins our rivers and streams and finally to the great ocean. Therefore, we all have a great responsibility to protect the planet. We plant trees under the Husma Dena Thuru programme. We also introduced a special container to collect discarded carbon pens and toothbrushes. Our school system alone releases between 80-100 kilograms of carbon pans per day. I think it is not enough to talk about the environmental damage caused by these on social media and the mainstream media. That’s why I took action to ban several types of plastic and polythene products. No Environment Minister has touched on this issue before. I know that in a few months, the sale of sachets will be eliminated from our country,” he commented. Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake said that around one million people visit Colombo every day and the environmental pollution caused by the entry of a similar number of vehicles into the city is very high.

“Therefore, the Colombo Municipal Council and the Environment Ministry have commenced the planting of 100,000 saplings within the Colombo Municipality,” she said. Ministry Secretary Dr.Anil Jasinghe, Ambassadors and dignitaries were also present.

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