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Thursday June 20th, 2024

Sri Lanka to raid lunch sheet sellers, outlaw plastic garlands

Large scale 5000Kg PET Plastic Collection Hut at the Negombo Harbour

 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will enforce a ban on ‘lunch sheets’ a thin plastic sheet that is laid on plates of food and is used to tie food packets, ban the imports of machines that produce them, and seize any in the country, a top official said while plastic garlands will be outlawed soon

The ban dated back to 2017 but was not strictly implemented.

“There is no need for a gazette because this was earlier banned in 2017; ban in the sense degradable polythene lunch sheets were allowed but the issue was people started producing polythene lunch sheets domestically,” Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment told EconomyNext.

“In terms of raids, it will take place everywhere from shops to boutiques and we will stop importing these machines as well. It is a small machine.”

Previous enforcement was not aggressive enough and it was difficult because of cottage industries, but there are also big companies, he said

Sri Lanka’s Central Environment Authority officers will conduct raids from August 01, either on their own with police support to seize lunch sheets.

“There is nothing new in this lunch sheet ban, we are reimplementing whatever that was implemented in 2017,” Jasinghe said.

In terms of alternatives, Jasinghe added that

Several alternatives are already present in the market but polythene lunch sheets were the cheapest.

“Before polythene came into being we managed, nowadays people live in their comfort zones, that’s the reason”, Jasinghe said.

Sri Lanka follows the global waste management formula of 3Rs – reduce, reuse, and recycle.

“Even to recycle, lunch sheets cannot be collected like PET bottles,” Jasinghe said.

“Alternatives will not come up without enforcement, so when you don’t have it people will find new ways.”

He says people used bananas and lotus leaves to wrap food before.

Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera had previously said that there are eight alternatives identified for lunch sheets.

When asked what those Jasinghe are said,

“There are not only eight but simply we can use bio-degradable products, banana leaves, lotus leaves, containers, etc., they are not officially identified as such. But we can see there are about eight alternatives at present.”

Minister Amaraweera has claimed that every day 12-15 million non-perishable lunch sheets are added to the environment while at least 1 percent of lunch sheets used are not recycled and more than 99 percent are thrown into the environment.

Biodegradable lunch sheets are a little expensive but the ministry had discussions with the manufacturer, the minister said.

And according to media reports, eight companies have joined in to produce biodegradable lunch sheets.

The other waste management issue Sri Lanka is handling is the yogurt cups.

Minister Amaraweera said earlier this week that yogurt cups will not be banned because there is no alternative in the market yet and if they are banned the dairy sector will be badly hit.

Sri Lanka discards 100 tons of used plastic yogurt cups each year of which only seven percent are recycled.

About 45 million yogurt cups and similar containers are dumped into the environment every month, the minister had said.

“Yogurt cups are hard to collect, they are dumped with remaining yogurt and the tin foil on, and when the foil is on it’s hard for collectors. They want uniform products,” Jasinghe explained.

“We support collectors and recyclers so with more support they will be able to do it too.”

At one time, yogurt cups came with plastic lids.

In a bygone era, ‘Milk Board’ yogurt came in wax cardboard cups with cardboard top, older persons who remember told EconomyNext.

Other products that will be banned include string hopper trays, polythene garlands, plastic spoons, saucers, plates, forks, and cups.

“Plastic cups and saucers are often used for picnics, the alternative for these products are paper products and wooden cutlery or the people can always carry one from home,” Jasinghe said.

“For string hopper trays the alternative was already used and is in the market ‘batapathuru’ trays.

Polythene garlands are used in temples a lot.

Jasinghe said the divisional secretary of Kataragama where a prominent temple is, conducted a workshop for garland makers in that city on how to make garlands out of flowers such as Araliya and nurseries have also been started there.

“If you ask people not to do they will listen, so we will have to take it away,” Jasinghe said.

These will be banned on January 01, 2022, with a gazette notification, and from now onwards they can find alternatives thereby we will not affect their business too,”

“So we are giving enough grace period and on the other hand we have been misusing plastic from the 70s so why we can wait for a few months then everything will be transparent.”(Colombo/Jul29/2021)

 

 

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 305.10/30 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger ahead of the long weekend at 305.10/30 to the US dollar on Thursday, up from 305.40/55 to the US dollar Wednesday, dealers said, while some bond yields edged up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.45/80 percent, up from 10.35/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.00/15 percent, up from 11.95/12.35 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.12.2031 closed at 12.05/25 percent.
(Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, JKH trade pushes turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Thursday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.19 percent, or 23.11 points, at 12,249; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.15 percent, or 5.33 points, at 3,610.

Turnover was 2 billion. Nearly half of this (Rs980mn) came from a crossing on John Keells Holdings Plc. The share closed down at 202.00.

“There were several crossings today which pushed turnover,” market participants said.

“Institutions and high net-worth activity drove the market, while the retail investors we feel are still about uncertain and adopting a wait-and-see approach.”

Melstacorp Plc was among the companies that saw active volumes (Rs194mn) in the day. The share closed up at 87.10.

Top contributors to the index included TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 41.70), Sampath Bank Plc (up at 79.50), Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 201.00). Hayleys Plc (up at 105.00) and its subsidiary Hayleys Fabric Plc (up at 46.60) were also positive contributors. (Colombo/Jun20/2024)

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Sri Lanka, India launch maritime rescue coordination centre

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s president Ranil Wickremesinghe and visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar marked the formal commissioning of a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in the island nation on Thursday.

The MRCC was constructed with a 6 million dollar grant from India.

It includes a centre at Navy headquarters in Colombo, a sub-centre in Hambantota and unmanned installations at Galle, Arugambay, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kallarawa, Point Pedro and Mollikulam.

Wickremesinghe and Jaishankar also launched, virtually, 106 houses in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Matale under the Indian Housing Project. 24 houses in each model village were handed over.

Jaishankar called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the President’s House earlier in the day for a one-on-one meeting, the president’s media division said.

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