The Environment Ministry has stated that several one-off use plastic and polythene products to the list of banned plastics and polyphones, are harmful to the environment and even to human health.
Following a discussion held at the ministry chaired by Minister Mahinda Amaraweera on June 16, decision has been made to add plastic bottles less than 400ml, plastic cups, all lunch wrapping sheets and astro mats to the plastics and polythene by-products list and will submit the cabinet paper next week.
Use-and-throw straws and stirrers, spoons, forks, knives, including yogurt spoons, shopping bags, grocery bags of less than 10 (w) x 5 (G) x 17 (H) inches made of plastic or polythene, plastic string hopper trays, packing of incense sticks and wicks using polythene material, plastic garlands and plastic cups will be added to the list.
Earlier, it was decided to ban lunch wrapping sheets. But the decision was not implemented for various reasons. Therefore, the Ministry has now decided to re-implement the decision, Minister Amaraweera said.
“These steps have been taken to prohibit the use of plastic bottles containing less than 400 ml. The decision to ban astro mats, which are common in various hotels and restaurants and in some religious places, was made despite they have the potential to quickly turn into micro-plastics shreds. The use of astro mats and carpets are causing great harm to the environment,” Minister Amaraweera said.
“We can now easily grow some natural grass. No one will be harmed by trampling them. Experts have even concluded that it is best to walk on the ground at least a few times a day for a healthy life. Therefore, even in places of worship, it is not advisable to use these astro mats and carpets in their yards,” he highlighted.