News

Ban on certain plastic/polythene products: Standard identification markers to be issued 

 

  • Strict legal action against errant manufacturing companies 

  • Including imposition of a term of imprisonment

 

  

By Yumiko Perera 

 

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) is set to issue standard markers for the identification of single-use plastics and polythene products soon, The Sunday Morning learnt. 

Meanwhile, environmental authorities have pledged to take strict legal action against errant manufacturing companies violating the ban on certain plastics including single-use plastics and polythene products.  

After the Ministry of Environment took necessary steps to ban the manufacture of certain plastic and polythene products that are used locally, the ban on single-use plastics took effect on 31 March. 

Speaking with The Sunday Morning, Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera said: “The manufacturing of certain plastic and polythene products has been banned as of 31 March. Under certain provisions of the National Environmental Act, stringent legal measures can be taken against parties that violate this in any way.” The Minister emphasised that if anybody were to violate the ban on these plastics and polythene, they would be looking at a jail sentence. 

Stating that the main intention behind this move had been to reduce the generation of plastic waste, CEA Waste Management Division Deputy Director General Eng. J.M.U. Indrarathne, speaking with The Sunday Morning, said: “Our understanding is that some companies have developed and designed packaging to cover up these regulations. There are certain loopholes they use in order to get away with it. We can’t allow that to happen and we will not allow that to continue any further. If any company is violating the regulations, then we would have to opt for prosecution. The Covid-19 pandemic has blocked our programme but we have planned to start enforcement activities soon.” 

According to Indrarathne, the total waste generation of the country comes up to 11,000 metric tonnes daily, out of which 7% is plastic waste, which often ends up in illegal dumpsites. 

The gazette notification concerning the ban had been issued on 21 January, according to which, it is mandatory to mention the type of plastic used for any plastic product. 

The use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material for packing agrochemicals used for any process, trade, or industry is also prohibited.