A call to implement previous garbage disposal plan | Daily News

A call to implement previous garbage disposal plan

All Island Polythene Producers and Recyclers Association President Anura Wijethunga on Thursday said the country will not face any issue with regard to disposing of garbage, if the programme launched by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa when he was Defence and Urban Development Secretary is implemented again.

He was of the view that as Defence Secretary, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had implemented a viable programme for the proper management of garbage accumulated in Colombo city. “There won’t be any garbage issue in the country if this programme is implemented by the officials again,” Wijethunga said.

He said that every polythene producer must recycle their products. “There are over 800 companies producing polythene in the country and our Association has over 150 companies as members,” he said. Wijethunga added that over 40,000 people are employed in the industry. “The number of persons employed in this industry exceeds 300,000 when those who are distributing our products are also considered,” he said.

Addressing a press conference in Rajagiriya on Thursday, he said that in 2006 the government had issued a gazette notification banning the manufacture and sale of polythene or polythene products of 20 microns or below in thickness.

“This ban is not implemented properly. The Central Environment Authority jointly with the Environment Ministry had introduced another set of regulations in 2016 banning the use of lunch sheets, rigiform boxes and shopping bags without having a discussion with us,” he said

Wijethunga said a new type of lunch sheet was introduced to the market as an alternative and it was made of biodegradable materials. However, Wijethunga said that 99 percent of lunch sheets available in the market are non-degradable.

“High density polythene was used for the manufacture of polythene bags. Later the government imposed a regulation making the use of low density polythene compulsory for the manufacture of polythene bags which are of inferior strength as against polythene bags manufactured using high density polythene,” he said.

It was widely reported that the grocery bags available following the ban were of inferior strength requiring the use of double bagging to perform the task of single high density polythene bag used before.

This situation has led to higher bag consumption resulting in import of more polythene to the country, he said.