Ban on production and use of plastic bags comes into effect

The government had announced a nationwide ban on the use, sale, distribution, import and export of plastic bags from the new fiscal, which starts today.

However, the ban does not appear to have affected consumption, production, and import and export of plastic bags.

Plastic entrepreneurs said that they will not stop producing plastic bags, and the public will not stop using them. The Nepal Plastic Manufacturers’ Association said that whether the ban is imposed or not, 4,700,000 to 4,800,000 pieces of plastic bags would be consumed daily in Kathmandu itself.

The association had already made it clear that no plastic factories would be closed unless the government provides alternatives or compensation to them. “The government has imposed the ban without offering any alternatives,” said Chairman of Nepal Plastic Manufacturers’ Association Sharad Sharma said, adding, “The government has no legal grounds besides a previous directive that bans production and use of plastic bags below 30 microns. So we do not need to close our factories.”

The Plastic Bag Directive- 2071 had restricted production, sales, and distribution of plastic bags below 30 microns. Plastic entrepreneurs had demanded at least six months’ time to apply this directive, but the government has only given them a month to search for alternatives themselves.

The Department of Environment said it is preparing to bring a new directory to impose the blanket ban on plastic bags throughout the country.

Director General at the department Ganesh Kumar Shrestha informed that although the ban was officially imposed from today, the government would not take any action in this regard.

“The ban was announced in the budget speech without adequate research or preparation,” DG Shrestha told The Himalayan Times, “We plan to give plastic factories at least a month’s time to implement the ban.”

He said that a new directory will be needed to implement the ban, and the department is working on it.

“We will not conduct any inspection or take further action until the new directory is introduced,” he said.

Shankar Prasad Paudel, a member of the committed entrusted with drafting a new directive to impose the ban on plastic bags, also reiterated that a new directive will be needed to impose nationwide plastic ban. The committee is preparing to draft the new directory within a month.