Plan to impose ban on plastic bags lauded

Kathmandu, May 29

Nepali youth leading ‘No thanks! I carry my own bag’, a campaign advocating against the use of plastic shopping bags, have welcomed the government’s plan to completely stop the use, import, export, sale and distribution of all kinds of plastic bags all over Nepal.

As stated in point number 318 of the fiscal budget of 2016/17 announced yesterday, the government will impose the ban on the use, import, export, sales and distribution of single use polythene bags as well as poly propylene bags, encouraging plastic bag manufacturers to go for greener alternatives.

The ban on plastic bags is currently in effect only in the Kathmandu Valley.

Convener of the campaign, Pradip Khatiwada, said, “For the past two years, we had been constantly making people aware and lobbying the relevant government bodies to extend the ban on plastic bags all over Nepal, and also to clearly specify the ban on polypropylene bags as they are worse than polythene bags because they cannot be recycled. Though it took some time, we are very happy that our efforts have borne fruit.”

Shilshila Acharya, one of the initiators of the campaign, said, “After the ban, the whole market switched from one form of plastic bag to another  polypropylene.

Now that the government has provided tax subsidies to the manufacturers of alternative biodegradable bag on the import of machinery, this will create thousands of new green employment opportunities within Nepal by utilising our local raw materials.”

Likewise, leader of the campaign Rochak Bohara added, “Though polypropylene is also plastic, because of its fabric like feel, people were mistaking it for cloth bags and we were having difficulty making people understand this. Now that it has been clearly stated in the policy, it will be easier to implement the ban.”