CEA to strictly enforce polythene ban

Mervyn Dias explaining to President Maithripala Sirisena about compostable and Biodegradable film at a recent exhibition in Colombo.

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) reiterated the complete ban of manufacturing, selling, possessing and using polythene food wrapping sheets, bags and rigifoam boxes, which came into effect on January 01 this year.

The CEA will thereafter take strict legal action against persons who are involved in the using of polythene products in order to support the government’s endeavour of creating a polythene free environment.

Accordingly, consumers should use pollution free compostable and biodegradable food wrapping sheets and bags that get composted within 180 days in an industrial composting unit.

Speaking to Daily News Business, CEA Chairman Prof. Lal Dharmasiri said although the decision of banning the use of polythene was taken by the government last September, it was postponed for another three months due to several requests made by manufacturers.

Dharmasiri said as the initial step, from now onwards the CEA will check polythene manufacturers, distributors and persons who are keeping large stocks of polythene products in their possession.

”Our officials will also visit traders, hoteliers, grocery shops, pharmacies and restaurants who defy the law by keeping polythene wrapping papers and bags in their possession.”

Meanwhile, a compostable and biodegradable film manufacturer, Plastic Pakaging Chairman Dr Mervyn Dias said his company welcomed the government’s decision and said it helps to create a polythene-free environment in the country. “We are happy about the government’s decision to ban the use of polythene bags and food wrapping sheets which pollute the environment,” he said.

He said his company manufactures only the UK approved EN 13432 standard compostable and biodegradable papers to cater to both local and overseas markets.

“Polythene papers take over 500 years to degrade and such a situation badly pollutes the environment and causes heavy damage not only to human beings and other living beings but also to fauna and flora,” he said. When contacted All Ceylon Restaurant Association senior official Asela Sampath said he would bring this matter to the notice of relevant officials in due course.