ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lankan government has decided to offer tax concessions for imports of machinery used in biologically degradable plastic production as part of measures to eliminate use of polythene, the disposal of which has worsened pollution problems.
The Cabinet of ministers his week also approved a proposal by President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, impose a cess tax of 15% on importation of plastic raw material and goods.
The decision was part of several short, medium and long term measures recommended by the committee of intellectuals appointed to tackle the problem of managing polythene use to minimize its environmental impact, a statement said.
Short term measures include prohibition of polythene use for decorations in all events and implementing prevailing regulations prohibiting use, sale and production of polythene less than 20 microns thick.
The government will allow use of polythene less than 20 microns for essential activities only on the approval of Central Environmental Authority.
The sale, importation and production of plastic sheets to wrap meals will be banned along with containers, plates, cups, spoons made using polystyrene and sale of processed or cooked meals packed in polythene containers.
The government will promote biologically degradable polythene and plastics and paper, cloth or reed bags for customers when purchasing requirements in stores.
Long term decisions include a complete ban on recycled plastic products.
(COLOMBO, July 13, 2017)