Come January 1, 2021, the Sultanate will say adieu to the single-use plastic bags to control pollution and implement the law on environmental protection.
As a prelude to the implementation of the ban, a statement from the Environment Authority reiterated, “the decision to ban the use of single-consumption plastic shopping bags will come into effect on January 1, 2021”.
While reminding about its readiness to roll out the regulations in this regard, the Authority also asked the public, “are you ready?”
In March this year, a decision was issued to ban the use of single-use plastic shopping
bags “to preserve the environment in Oman”.
“Companies and establishments are prohibited from using single-use plastic bags with the aim to protect the Omani environment’’, said the decision.
Under the Decision No 23/2020, an administrative fine of no less than RO 100, and not more than RO 2,000 will be slapped on anyone who violates the decision. The fines will be doubled in the case of repeated violations.
A twitter poll by the Authority showed that three of five consumers were ready to ditch single-use plastic bags, while about 9 per cent of consumers have actually switched to reusable and more environment-friendly bags.
Others who participated in the poll sought more time to adjust to the government’s new regulations.
According to a recent report by the United Nations, a staggering 91 per cent of all plastic is single-use, and the rate of mass production since plastic became commonly used almost six decades ago has resulted in 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic pollution.
The scariest part of this is that production of plastic is set to double over the next 20 years, despite increasing awareness of its detrimental impact on the environment, it says.
“The only way to end our dependence on single-use plastic is for everyone to recognize, understand and respect the challenges present at every level and act accordingly to address them’’, the report said.
According to the Environment Authority, the Sultanate faces serious environmental challenges related mainly to plastic bags, which remain as non-degradable in the long run, in addition to the difficulty of collecting and recycling them.
“It was necessary to develop policies and guidelines for manufacturers and suppliers to ensure the correct transition to single-use shopping bag alternatives’’, it said.
The European Union projects that marine plastic pollution will increase to 150 million tonnes by 2025.
The problem is so serious that the United Nations has identified single-use plastics as one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges of modern times.
“We must measure the extent and impact of the single-use plastic problem to fully understand and manage it. Tracking and recording single-use plastic lost to the environment is an almost impossible task, but that doesn’t make it any less important. The truth is that it can be done’’, the UN report said.