Will the old habit of using polythene die hard after Sept ?

Published : 9:40 am  September 1, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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According to the Central Environmental Authority a 10,000-rupee fine and a two-year jail term will be imposed on a person found guilty of using polythene and plastic


By Sheain Fernandopulle 

Polythene and plastic, items which had been an issue for everybody, have been done away with. The law that bans the use of polythene will be imposed from September 1.According to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) a 10,000-rupee fine and a two-year jail term will be imposed on a person found guilty of using polythene and plastic when the ban becomes legally effective from September.
It has been made known that the production, sale and use of polythene, falling under the category less than 20 microns, are subject to this ban.   

cvdtdCEA Chairman Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri told The Daily Mirror that the law banning polythene and plastic will be applicable to everyone. 

“With the approval of the Cabinet to enforce the law on these items, the authority to nab and fine law breakers is vested with the Police,” Prof. Dharmasiri said.   

It’s coherent that both the Government and the CEA are trying to eliminate the use of polythene which is commended by the public. But what is important is how far the law will be enforced and whether wrong doers will be penalized.   

Nevertheless, CEA Director of Waste Management Ajith Weerasundara said that they would grant concessions when expenses are inquired as Taxes and VAT during the importation of biodegradable raw material and manufacturing machinery.   

“We are in a firm position to put this law into effect irrespective of the circumstances. CEA as a responsible institute aspires to conserve the environment. For that, we need the assistance and co-operation of the general public,” Weerasundara said.   

dxcvfcvHowever, Chairman of All Ceylon Polythene Manufacturers and Recyclers Association (ACPMRA), Anura Wijethunga said that they are unable to adapt to the conditions imposed by the CEA and the Government until existing stocks of polythene are consumed.   

“We have requested the CEA to inform the Government to provide manufacturers with ample time to finish their stocks and after that to shift from High-density polyethylene (HDPE) to Low-density polyethylene (LDPE),” Wijethunga said.   

He further said that the manufacturing companies affiliated to their union had stopped the production of lunch sheets, but added that they would release lunch sheets which were remaining in the stock to the market. He went on to state that the responsibility regarding the other companies lay with the CEA.   

“The law has been imposed too early and the alternatives aren’t effective. The Government should have discussed the matter with us earlier than this and taken a better approach to solve this issue. We too are in a position to put an end to polythene use, but the manner in which the Government and the CEA have addressed the issue isn’t efficient nor fair. Therefore, we believe that the enforcement of the law will be abortive,” he added.   

LATE-CITY-DM-1-120What the manufacturers are claiming is reasonable from their point of view. This is mainly because the time frame which has been provided to them to adapt to the new law is insufficient. Consideration must also be given to the fact that the manufacturers and their families depend on the revenue generated through the production of polythene and items related to it. The Government at this juncture should take productive and instant actions to address the issue.   

It’s evident that most countries have banned the use of polythene totally, hence we should follow in their footsteps and adapted environmentally healthy usages. Let’s strive to eradicate the use of polythene and get used to biologically degradable polythene.





Majority voices approval as a nation prepares to drop nondegradables


 By Haadiyah Marikar 

Polythene has become a big part of our lifestyle in the recent past. If you were to walk in to any Sri Lankan household there is a high chance that you would find a bag filled with polythene bags in the kitchen; a sight that many of us are familiar with. The shopping bags we get are often used to help us carry things.

cvdtdIf you were to visit a company lunchroom during the lunch hour you would most probably see employees unwrapping their lunch sheets or opening rigifoam boxes before they tuck in to the rice and curry within. So when the Government announces that polythene lunch sheets, rigifoam boxes and shopping bags are to be banned from September 1, one would expect that it would be quite difficult to get rid of something that has become such a reliable, dependant and almost essential part of our lives.

Thus The Daily Mirror set out and spoke to pedestrians going about their day to inquire about how prepared they are for the polythene ban.

What we found out was that although people thought the reduction of the use of polythene is a good step taken, the alternatives that are available at present are insufficient to non-existent. Many of them aired the view that it is the Government’s duty to ensure that more environmentally friendly alternatives be made available in the market.   

-Jeevani Fernando (32) Moratuwa


‘Practical problems can surface from what is viewed as a good solution’



The main problem is the absence of a proper way to recycle plastic.  There is no solution for this main problem. And practically speaking there are no alternatives. We will have to move to things like banana leaves and cloth bags, but are those things so easy to find? I’m not prepared for this change.

There are so many practical problems that come with this. And to carry lunch boxes and lunch baskets along with our handbags is another issue for us. It is a good step, but the change brings along with it a fair share of problems. 



-Viraj Priyan (35) Ragama


‘A correction needs to be made regarding the situation we face’


cvdtdIt’s obviously a good thing to ban polythene and there are alternatives such as paper. We would have had to do this. We have to rectify the situation that has culminated to what it is today. But we have to use the correct process and there has to be a proper plan. Where I come from, the garbage isn’t collected nor is it put on a side. Right now there isn’t a proper system in place. In addition to this, polythene is a big industry and generates a lot of money. I myself was in this industry. In the recent past we have started to collect plastic and polythene and put it through a process of recycling. You observe in bus halts and train stations how plastic and polythene items, that are thrown away, have accumulated. This is because there is no place to dispose them. Steps to reduce the use of such items should have been taken earlier. If this was done there wouldn’t have been such a problem. After observing the issues associated with the polythene and plastic, I stopped working in the industry recently and found employment as a PLC. 


- Dhiyawansa (57) Colombo


‘Plastic was something that came recently, we didn’t have it those days.



It’s a real problem and a nuisance to prepare for such a thing. Because there is no place to keep the plastic. Sometimes it isn’t collected, so some of us end up burning it although it is very harmful to the environment. Those days this problem didn’t exist because we never used polythene.

We used paper, cloth and other decomposable material. Polythene is a recent product and it has caused so many problems for us and the environment.   



-Rohitha Perera (49) Panadura


‘Our country can benefit from this’




It is a good move. There are other alternatives such as paper and other decomposable materials that we can use. This is something that our country needs. It isn’t only for the Government, it is good for all of us.




-Chamika (35) MOUNT LAVINIA


‘There aren’t any immediate alternatives that are available at the moment’



This is a really important step taken especially for our country. The problem is that the availability of lunch sheets and shopping bags is so high that it has become a part of our lifestyle. However alternatives like lunch boxes and hotpots aren’t widely available. There are very few alternatives available to us. A few days ago I went to buy one of those lunchboxes, but I couldn’t find a proper one. And to carry that around is another problem. You can even use banana leaves, but are these leaves available everywhere? I am not well prepared for this, but we will have to be prepared when the time comes. 


-Ahmed (47) Malwana


‘There isn’t a problem because I have other options at my disposal’




I am more or less prepared for this because there are other things you can use such as cloth, papers and banana leaves. All these are decomposable things. For me there is no problem




-Rohana (35) Nuwara Eliya


‘It is a good practice to stop using polythene’ 




It would be a good practice to stop using polythene. As of now, people are just throwing their trash on the road. Nowadays you don’t see people maintaining discipline; they are just throwing their rice packets and lunch sheets on to the road. Then the garbage collects in mounds and contributes to the spread of dengue. Practically we don’t see any alternatives to the issue right now.