Implement plastic ban effectively, govt told

Kathmandu, March 20

The Parliamentary Environment Protection Committee today directed the Ministry of Population and Environment to implement the plastic ban that was imposed from July 16, 2016 effectively.

Although the ban was imposed nine months ago, the use of plastic bags has continued as it did before.

The committee instructed the ministry to implement the ban with regular and effective monitoring, and urged the ministry to submit its progress reports to the committee regularly.

The government had imposed a ban on plastic bags below 40 microns on July 16 last year. However, Valley denizens and shopkeepers have continued using the easily available plastic bags.

Plastic manufacturers said they have continued manufacturing plastic bags for their sustenance. The Nepal Plastic Manufacturers’ Association had strongly protested the government’s move to ban plastic bags and demanded that the decision either be revoked, or an alternative be presented to them.

The association said that despite the ban, 4.70 to 4.80 million pieces of plastic bags are used daily in Kathmandu.

The association had already made it clear that no plastic factories would close unless the government provided alternatives or compensation to them.

The Plastic Bag Directive-2071 had restricted production, sale and distribution of plastic bags below 30 microns. Plastic entrepreneurs had demanded time to apply this directive, but the government gave them only a month to search for alternatives.

According to the association, at least 140 out of 200 existing plastic bag factories were forced to shut down after the ban. The department said environment inspectors have been mobilised to strongly enforce the ban.