Muscat: The ban on single-use plastic shopping bags was implemented after a group of environmental studies proved its environmental impact that affected human life, said Dr. Abdullah bin Ali al Amri, chairman of the Environment Authority (EA).
Amri said in an interview, “Based on these studies and following discussions with partners in the public and private sectors, it was decided on March 9, 2020, to impose the ban in Oman. All stakeholders were given as much as ten months to implement the decision.”
At the same time, both citizens and residents have expressed concern over the lack of alternatives in the market. "Despite the announcement in March, the alternative is still available in limited quantities. Secondly, the customer has to pay the costs of the alternative bags after every shopping."
One resident wanted to know about the use of plastic garbage bags and while another citizen wanted to know whether single-use plastic cutlery like spoons and bottles are also involved in the list.
Yayah asked about the alternatives “There must be provisions for small shops in villages to mitigate the effects? Tiny shops do not have the capacity to import huge quantities of bags that are non-Omani made. Have you helped producers of PE bags in Oman to shift production to other bags?” he said.
Some citizens were also worried about the fate of hundreds of Omanis currently working in related factories as distributors and drivers.
Speaking to the Observer, a merchant said, "The decision has not implemented in full on Friday as I assume we have some grace period to clear our stocks. I expect the ministry supervisors to intensify checks from the first working day."
Speaking to the Observer Ananth A V director of the Lulu Group in Oman, “We have been following the guidelines of the authorities and have been promoting reusable bags in all stores. We have enough stocks of them available to help customers to follow the decision. ”
Amri said, “We monitored a positive interaction among community members that often suggested implementing this decision at its due time.”
The chairman pointed out that there are some challenges that faced the implementation of the decision on the first day, but the awareness among community members helped moving forward with implementing this important environmental decision.
Eng Ahmed bin Zahir al Hinai, Director General of Environmental Affairs, said, “The authority will implement the decision to ban as part of the plan set by the authority to preserve the Omani environment from pollution and waste that is harmful to the rich environment and wildlife.”
The decision 23/2020 says that companies and establishments are prohibited from using single-use single-use plastic shopping bags to preserve the Omani environment, provided that an administrative fine of not less than RO100 and no more than RO2,000 is imposed on whoever violates the provisions of this decision, and it will be doubled if the violation is repeated.
The Environment Authority said that light plastic bags are one of the most important factors for polluting open and public spaces inside and outside cities and on the seashore and its depths.