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Sri Lanka bans non-medical cotton buds, other single-use plastic products

ECONOMYNEXT – Non-medical cotton buds and lunch sheets less than 20 microns thin are among five types of single-use plastic and polythene related products that are banned in Sri Lanka starting today, the Department of Government Information (DGI) said.

Disposable polythene and plastic, PET bottles (PolyEthylene Terepthalate), sachets (non-food and non-pharmaceutical), and air-filled plastic are the other items manufactured for local use that have been banned by the Ministry of Environment.

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has accommodated requests made by several manufacturers to provide a grace period of three months to sell existing stocks of the five banned products. The DGI said no restrictions have been imposed on the export of these products either.

These companies were entirely local and some manufacturers were aware of the ban but had even imported and installed new equipment, the statement quoted the minister as saying.

The grace period will allow the manufacturers to cover the imported raw materials cost, it said.

The production of these banned products in Sri Lanka will be banned from tomorrow and the above mentioned items which are currently on sale in the shops can be sold until they run out of stock.

“No store inspection will be conducted. However, the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) will periodically inspect the manufacturing plants to see if they are manufactured for local use,” the statement added.

About 5.9 percent of the daily solid waste collected is polythene and plastic and it sums up to 400 tons in weight, the DGI further said.

“The use of PET bottles is estimated to be around 1,250 tons per month. Of this, only 250 tons is recycled, which is between 15-20 percent of the total plastic waste.”

The statement said the amount of plastic waste incinerated per day is 232 tons while 300,000 tons of plastic raw materials are imported into the country and a large quantity of finished goods are also being imported.

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“About 30 percent is re-exported as finished goods made from imported plastics. About 24 percent of total imports are recycled.”

Quoting Minister Amaraweera, the statement said the government has taken steps to address Sri Lanka’s environmental and health issues caused by this. (Colombo/Mar31/2021)

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