Print Edition - 2014-09-12 | Nation
Plastic manufacturers demand alternatives
Sep 11, 2014-
Just over two weeks after the Parliament directed the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MoSTE) to ban the use of polythene bags in the Kathmandu valley, plastic manufactures on Thursday claimed the decision was made without providing an alternative to their business.
The Parliament’s Environment Protection Committee had asked the MoSTE to declare the Valley a ‘polythene bag free zone’ by mid-April next year.
At a programme organised in the Capital on Wednesday, the plastic manufacturers warned of protest if the government didn’t come up with an alternative to their business. However, it is not clear what sort of protest the entrepreneurs plan to organise. Shailendra Pradhan, chairman of Nepal Pastic Manufacturers’ Association, said instead of banning the use of plastic altogether, the government should reinforce the Plastic Bags Control and Regulation Directive 2011 to ensure proper management. “The problem lies not with the plastic but with the fact that it is not managed properly. Banning the usage of plastic bags altogether is not the solution,” he said.
As per the 2011 directive, the government allows the use of polythene bags thinner than 30 microns and the non-transparent ones for food supplies instead of black polythene bags. However, with the latest decision, the use of any sort of plastics would be completely banned inside the Valley. Similarly, the Parliament has also directed the Ministry of Industry to study alternate options such as converting plastic manufacturing companies into cotton bag manufacturing ones. It has also directed the ministry to implement strategies that would encourage usage of jute, cotton and paper bags.
Rishi Raj Koirala, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Industry, said they are currently in the research phase for alternatives and are finalising terms of reference to hire consultants who would help them identity suitable options. “We will be holding talks with all stakeholders, including Association to come up with a viable alternative,” he said. Koirala said overnight ban isn’t the solution but the government will have an alternative within the next 5-6 months.
Recently, the support for plastic ban has gained momentum with 15 lawmakers from the Kathmandu Metropolitan City assuring their full support in August by endorsing a campaign called “No Thanks! I carry My Own Bag”.
According to Krishna Chandra Paudel, secretary at the MoSTE, the ban was inevitable as environment was at stake. “Plastics, especially those that are less than 20 microns, are extremely harmful and need to be banned,” he said.
Published: 12-09-2014 09:09