The Environment Authority (EA) and the Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) are making every effort to spread awareness on the use of environmentally friendly bags and have lined up a number of initiatives to encourage their usage.
“The Environment Directorate in North Batinah governorate organised a campaign to distribute environmentally friendly bags in the last few days in the wilayats of Sohar, Saham, Liwa and Shinas,” said an official at EA.
He added, “The campaign aims to encourage citizens and residents to use environmentally friendly shopping bags and to avoid single-use plastic bags. This initiative came in implementation of Ministerial Decision No 23/2020 banning the use of single-use plastic shopping bags, which came into effect from January 1, 2021, to preserve the Omani environment.
“The authority seeks to preserve the Omani environment and wildlife from pollution and harmful waste, implement the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Law No 114/2001 and achieve more sustainable development. It will also contribute significantly to reducing plastic pollution in the local environment.”
Meanwhile, Sulayem bin Ali al Hikmani, chairman of CPA, held a meeting recently with a number of goods suppliers and owners of commercial centres in Muscat, as part of efforts to follow up on local market conditions and consumer-related topics, including the provision of alternatives to plastic bags in stores and commercial centres.
Some commercial centres responded to the CPA by presenting initiatives that serve the interest of consumer, including distribution of environmentally friendly bags free of charge for every purchase exceeding RO3.
“Some other companies have taken the initiative of distributing bags free of charge regardless of purchase value. One commercial centre has allocated a total of 1mn environmentally friendly reusable bags that will be distributed in the coming days, while another mall will distribute 50,000 bags during the year 2021,” Hikmani said.
Hikmani emphasised that providing environmentally friendly bags in stores and commercial centres for free requires a simultaneous shift towards sustainable consumption to safeguard the environment.
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