ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 43

Polythene: Use less, use wisely

By Priyantha Wickramaratna

A senior environmental officer has called on polythene consumers to change their lifestyle to environmental friendly approaches through lesser and wiser use of polythene related materials.

“Polythene sellers and industries also should introduce mechanisms to collect waste polythene and direct them to the recycling industries and/ or alternate users”, said Central Environmental Authority (CEA) Senior Environmental Officer P.M.D Jayanetti, conducting a lecture recently organized by the Environmental Committee of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science.

He said the Government banned the sale of polythene products having a thickness of less than 20 microns from January 1, 2007 expecting consumers would reuse the new products due to their increased thickness.

“By increasing their thickness the Government expected consumers to reuse the products. But an interview with consumers revealed that they were not reusing the products. Therefore, while regulation is necessary, the greatest impact could be expected from changing public attitudes regarding waste disposal through awareness programmes and enforcement”, he said.
He said that it was mostly plastic bags issued from groceries that blocked drains.

Mr. Jayanetti said burning of dumped plastics generates toxic fumes and plastic material was harmful to plant growth when buried in the ground.

Having recognized the need to properly manage post-consumer polythene waste, the Plastics Partnership Committee chaired by the CEA had decided to implement the National Post- Consumer Plastic Waste Management Project for the education of consumers. The programme will focus on the development of plastics waste collection systems and a plastics recycling network and promotional campaigns. The proportion of used plastic and polythene products in urban waste which is disposed of every day is around 5%-6%. This is a significant amount to introduce a recycling project, Mr. Jayanetti said.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.