Monday, 20 January 2020

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Ban polythene bags countrywide: FREDA

New Delhi (Mizzima) – An environment organization has urged the military junta to impose a nationwide ban on the use of eco-unfriendly polythene bags in Burma.

The ‘Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association’ (FREDA) has urged for a ban similar to the one imposed in Mandalay last June.

“Polythene bags are dangerous for the environment. So the government should impose a nationwide ban as in Mandalay,” FREDA Vice-Chairman U Ohn said.

Polythene bags are not bio-degradable for many years and it can kill creatures if eaten. It also chokes the drainage system of the city in monsoon. It pollutes the environment in many ways, FREDA said.

Once an environment activist and currently Director of the Rangoon based Myanmar Development Foundation Yuzana Maw Htun said, “Polythene bags can kill creatures in water. It cannot decay in the earth for many years so it needs to be disposed off systematically”.

Moreover polythene bags cannot be recycled like plastic bags, harming the environment.

The Mandalay City Development Committee (municipal body) has imposed a total ban on the use of polythene bags and announced a polythene-bag free zone on June 3 this year. It had set a deadline for June 23. After the deadline, all polythene bags were to be seized, the announcement said.

Following the announcement, the use of polythene bags declined, a local grocery store owner said.

“After the municipal body made the announcement in a daily newspaper, the use of polythene bags came down gradually. The shops are using transparent plastic bags instead of polythene bags,” he said.

The transparent plastic bags are like polythene bags but costlier. But unlike the polythene bags, it cannot withstand heat.

“It’s not convenient for us. It’s costlier and not tough enough. We have to use double bags instead of a single one. It cannot withstand heat and cannot hold hot liquid,” a sales manager of a plastic bag shop told Mizzima.

While there is a total ban in Mandalay, polythene bags are still being widely used in former capital Rangoon in supermarkets and local grocery shops and stores.

According to the Rangoon (Yangon) City Development Committee (YCDC), the daily polythene bag waste in Rangoon is about 200 tons. During the last monsoons, the drains were choked with these bags in many places. It hampered movement of the people in the city.

The Rangoon City Mayor recently told the local media that the use of polythene bags would be banned after allowing time to the producers.

“We need time to put the ban into effect. We must have alternate material to substitute the banned product. This campaign must involve not only the government, but also academics and concerned organizations. The government must lead this campaign and our NGOs must educate the people. Concerned government departments, universities and research scholars must join this campaign,” FREDA Vice-Chairman U Ohn said.


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