The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) has asked people to be cautious while using plastic bags for shopping purposes.
MECA said, ‘Novel Coronavirus can stay on plastic bags for three days. We urge people to replace plastic bags with eco-friendly ones. We also call for the continuous sterilisation of all shopping bags.’
Quoting a study in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 17, MECA stated, ‘Scientists discovered the virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
‘The virus can live on plastic surfaces from 48 to 72 hours, including plastic bags before it loses its effectiveness.’
Ban on single-use bags from Jan 1
MECA issued a decision on March 9 banning the use of single-use plastic bags from January 1, 2021.
It had stated, ‘Violators of the decision will be liable to pay a fine of no less than RO100 and no more than RO2,000. The fine will be doubled in the case of repeat violation.’
The decision is part of the ministry’s plan to protect Oman’s environment and wildlife from pollution and waste. It came after a series of studies and workshops conducted by the ministry in cooperation with the concerned government and private agencies.