The use of polythene lunch sheets, rigifoam lunch boxes and shopping bags will be banned from September.
A proposal made by President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, to implement short term, medium term and long term activities recommended by the committee of intellectuals appointed in this regard, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The short term measures include the prohibition of polythene use for decorations in all events, implementing the prevailing regulations for prohibition of use, sale and production of polythene equals or less than 20 microns, allow the use of polythene less than 20 microns for essential activities only on the approval of Central Environmental Authority, prohibition of the sale, importation and production of lunch sheets, prohibition of the sale, importation and production of containers, plates, cups, spoons made using polystyrene, prohibition of the 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 and the introduction and promotion of biologically degradable polythene and plastics.
The midterm activities proposed are the provision of tax concessions in the 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 long term activities approved by the cabinet include the complete prohibition of recycled plastic products. (Colombo Gazette)