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Eco-friendly lunch sheets mandatory

Thameenah Razeek – ceylontoday.lk

Only biodegradable lunch sheets will be allowed to be sold in shops islandwide starting from 1 August and the Environment Ministry will make their use mandatory, Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera said.

He said, therefore, starting from next month, non-perishable polythene lunch sheets, as well as their production and distribution, will be prohibited, adding that a one-month grace period will be granted for the sale of current-production lunch sheets, after production and distribution of polythene lunch sheets are banned. 

He also said the requisite Cabinet Memorandum was signed wednesday (14) to present to the Cabinet a list of bans on 8 additional categories of polythene and plastic items that must be disposed of immediately. Raids are also conducted by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to see if they are still being produced. 

The law will be strictly enforced, according to the Minister, against anyone who manufactures or distributes them in contravention of directives. Thereby, single-use plastic drinking straws and stirrers, spoons, forks, yoghurt spoons, and knives, shopping bags with a volume smaller than 400×500, plastic string hopper trays, polythene packaging, perfume packaging, plastic garlands, plastic cups, and lunch sheets will no longer be in use. According to the CEA’s most recent data, the use of lunch sheets daily has increased in this country and that is 12-15 million.

 Furthermore, the Minister said none of it is recycled, and all lunch sheets purchased by the public are thrown away. “There are currently other options available. Biodegradable lunch sheets, on the other hand, are currently produced by ten firms.” The factories’ licences will be suspended if they try to deceive the public by producing non-perishable lunch sheets. The Minister further said only institutions registered with the CEA will be granted clearance for the production of biodegradable lunch sheets.

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Chandana Sesath Jayakody

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