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Specifications for plastic bags; heavy fine for violations

10 Jan 2021

The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, H E Qais bin Mohammed bin Moosa al Yousef, has issued Ministerial Decision No 4/2021 regarding standard specifications for reusable plastic bags.

The first article of the decision stipulates that the standard specification OS 1643/ 2020 for reusable shopping bags made of polyethylene is an Omani standard specification.

The second article of the decision confirmed that there is an administrative fine that does not exceed RO1,000 for those who violate the decision, and the fine is doubled in the event of repeated violation. The decision was issued on January 7, and it will come into effect the following day from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

Meanwhile, the Environment Authority has issued a statement on alternatives for single-use plastic bags.

The bags covered by the ban are lightweight single-consumption plastic shopping bags and all kinds of decomposing bags, which are capable of disintegrating quickly in nature, but their chemical properties remain and as a result, the harm is greater on the environment.

The alternatives are paper and carton bags, canvas bags, cotton bags, and non-woven bags that are reused and available in markets and shops.

Bags that do not fall under the ban are the ones currently used for planting agricultural seedlings, waste collection, bags for vegetables and fruits available in commercial centres, bags for fish and meat available in commercial centres, bread packaging bags and laundry bags.

The authority urges everyone to abide by the decision and to search for other alternatives such as paper and cloth bags  and reusable bags to preserve the Omani environment.

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