88% vote to regulate use of plastic bags in malls, markets, says Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs

Muscat - 

Eighty-eight per cent of online voters till Wednesday afternoon had agreed with the upcoming legislation in Oman regulating the use of plastic bags in malls and markets. The survey is being conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) on its Twitter account. The survey asks, “Do you want to end the use of plastic bags in markets and malls and replace them with biodegradable or reusable bags?”

Speaking to Muscat Daily , an official from Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs said, “The survey began on Tuesday and will continue till Friday.”

The official said over 2,726 people had voted with 88 per cent agreeing with the legislation. “So far, we have also received more than 97 suggestions from citizens and residents about recycling plastic bags. After completing the survey, all these suggestions will be forwarded to concerned officials in the ministry. Such surveys help in understanding environmental problems and ways to solve them. Preserving environment is everyone’s responsibility.”

The official said that plastic bags pose a huge problem because they don’t decompose for hundreds of years. “Plastic bags are one of the 20 most dangerous products manufactured today, polluting vast areas around cities and beaches around the world.”

He said that the time has come to realise the ill effects of plastic bags. “Shops throughout the sultanate rely on these bags. We are exerting more efforts and cooperating with government and private bodies to spread awareness among people.

“Some firms use biodegradable plastic bags which decompose quickly, follow recycling methods and replace plastic bags with paper bags or fabric. Specialists in the ministry have conducted awareness lectures in schools and colleges. Campaigns have been held to create awareness about environmental risks of using plastic bags.”

Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs has cooperated with Orpic, the Environment Society of Oman and other bodies, associations and civil society organisations to hold awareness campaigns on the issue.

Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, in cooperation with the UNEP Regional Office, participated in an initiative called ‘Clean Seas’. “It was aimed to clean coral reefs and coastal sites of all waste.”

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