Muscat, July 15 – An overwhelming 89 per cent of the people said ‘no’ to the use of plastic bags in markets and commercial establishments in the Sultanate, while 11 per cent voted ‘yes’. A total of 4,514 people had participated in a poll conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs on the use of plastic bags and replacing them with biodegradable/reusable bags.
The poll, initiated on Twitter, lasted for three days.
More than 130 people posted their comments on the dangers of plastic bags for humans and wildlife as well as their impact on marine life, beaches, coral reefs and others.
The poll was aimed at educating citizens about the impact of plastic bags on Oman’s environment.
Plastic bags are thermoplastic materials made of petroleum raw materials called polymers and other chemicals.
They are made from high concentration polyethylene, a naturally transparent material.
Other chemicals are added to give these bags characteristics such as hardness, transparency and frostiness.
As plastic bags do not decompose for hundreds of years, they pose environmental and health hazards.
The ministry seeks to reduce the use of plastic bags, which are extensively used in malls and hypermarkets, although it is learnt some biodegradable bags are being used in some shops.
Some stores are also using paper bags.
The ministry has visited factories producing plastic bags in different parts of the Sultanate to study the nature of materials involved in their production.
It also visited some neighbouring countries to learn how they are dealing with the problem.
Specialists from the ministry met several manufacturers of plastic bags.
A visual presentation was made on plastic bags, their hazards and other alternatives.
These options include the use of materials that decompose in shorter time, recycling methods and replacement of plastic bags with paper or cloth bags. The Gulf standard for oxo-biodegradable plastic bags was highlighted during the meetings. In addition, specialists from the ministry held awareness lectures in schools and associations as well as campaigns to clean the beaches with participation from different sections of society in order to raise awareness about the dangers of excessive use of plastic bags.
Mai al Abria