Muscat: The ban on the use of single-use plastic bags, which was implemented in the Sultanate of Oman in 2021, is yet to yield 100 per cent results, according to top official of Environment Authority (EA).
Dr Abdullah bin Ali al Amri, Chairman of EA, said that the decision was to ban only the use of plastic bags that are less than 50 microns. "Bags that weigh more than 50 microns are still on the market. These bags are easy to collect from places and do not fly around and land in places such as the seas and mountain tops. The decision did not achieve its ultimate goal, but we hope to make amends in the future," he said.
It may be noted that while several retailers encourage reusable bags, including cotton-made, thicker plastic reusable bags are still available across the country, leaving it to the consumers to decide whether they need to use them or not.
"These days all supermarkets offer plastic bags and customers use them as per their requirements or commitment to the cause of saving the environment. I always wonder whether they lifted the ban or went soft on the violators for some reason. This ban was the need of the hour and should be implemented strictly," said Sajid Ahmed, a resident, who is also tempted to pick some of those bags for home purposes.
Oman banned the import of plastic bags from January 1, 2023. Companies, institutions and individuals are prohibited from importing plastic bags and violators will be fined RO 1,000 on the first offence, which will be doubled on the violation.
The Sultanate of Oman is also supporting and developing environmental monitoring work by installing vehicle tracking devices with units to determine locations and monitor fuel consumption and environmental efficiency of cars.