MUSCAT, March 15 – There will be total ban on single-use plastic shopping bags from January 1, 2021 in the Sultanate. This will come into effect with the Ministerial Resolution No 23/2020. The decision was issued by Mohammed bin Salim al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, on Sunday. Article 1 of the resolution prohibits companies and institutions from using single-use plastic shopping bags. This has been done to preserve the Omani environment.
There is provision of a minimum fine of RO 100, which can go up to RO 2,000 depending upon the frequency of the violation, as stipulated by the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Law issued by Royal Decree No 114/2001, and Royal Decree No 18/2008 defining the terms of reference of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs and adapting its organisational structure.
Oman’s precious sea wealth, unmatchable environment, and beaches and parks are polluted with plastic bags littered by people who often act irresponsibly. However, the cleaning up campaigns organised by various NGOs and other private companies come to the rescue of these unique environmental players.
“Most people do not realise the impact of plastic bags on our marine life, birds and land mammals, and the fact that many are on the verge of extinction as a result of our carelessness and frivolity,” HH Sayyida Tania bint Shabib al Said, President of Environment Society of Oman (ESO) said.
Oman consumes not less than 100,000 non-degradable plastic bags on a given day, according to studies. “Undoubtedly, single-use plastic bags are a menace to the environment and our volunteers collect hundreds of kilos of plastic trash being dumped on the shores of Oman”, said Ammujam Raveendran, member of Oman Clean Beaches volunteers group.
With the ban on single-use plastic bags, local SMEs can explore alternatives like paper bags that will replace plastic, according to experts.
“Local SMEs and hundreds of youth will find this as new avenue for jobs,” says Hamsa Ashraf, a local trainer.