To ensure sustainable use of resources and take into account climate and environmental changes, a few Omani businesses are becoming eco-friendly and in turn promoting a circular economy.
The change also supports the decision to ban single-use plastic shopping bags in Oman which came into effect on January 1, 2021, according to Dr Mohammad Majid al Kasbi, director of Department of Chemical Materials in the Environment Authority (EA).
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Kasbi said, “A few Omani firms are leading the way in adopting eco-friendly policies and businesses such as Kiryas Paper Industry and National Paper Bags Factory. Oman Plastic Industries has stopped the production of plastic bags and is preparing to produce paper bags soon.”
He informed that Oman Plastic Industries will soon launch an initiative to spread awareness on the importance of using environmentally friendly bags for shopping. “The initiative will include posters and awareness videos about the dangers of plastic bags and the importance of using environmentally friendly bags.”
About circular economy policy, he said the decision to ban single-use plastic shopping bags supports it. “In line with Oman Vision 2040, the Environment Authority is keen to implement a circular economy policy. This policy aims to ensure an orderly use of resources that takes into account climate and environmental changes, work to provide economic growth, and reduce levels of pollution and global warming in the world.
“Other aims of this policy include achieving sustainable management of the economy, effective use of natural and environmental resources, sustainable consumption and production patterns that reduce environmental stress and meet basic needs, while encouraging the private sector to switch to cleaner industrial production methods and technologies,” Kasbi said.
Talking about the EA’s efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags, he said the authority has cooperated with several relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, the Consumer Protection Authority, and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion to spread awareness on the importance of using environmentally friendly bags.
“We have distributed 40,000 eco-friendly bags for free so far. The authority’s initiative targets school students, universities and citizens’ homes in several governorates across the sultanate. This has been done in cooperation with the governor’s offices in the wilayats. Many commercial centres have agreed to offer their customers eco-friendly bags for free when they shop from them.
“The multi-use eco-friendly bags are made of cloth, paper or other organic materials. These bags can be used over hundreds of times, while plastic shopping bags are used only once and take more than a thousand years to degrade,” Kasbi said.
Dr Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah al Omari, chairman of the EA, earlier issued an administrative decision to form a team to support the transition to environmentally friendly bags, Kasbi said.
“The team is responsible for setting up a mechanism to prohibit the use of plastic shopping bags, and to avoid the challenges resulting from the excessive use of 50μm bags,” he added.
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