Monday, 18 November 2019

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Ban on polythene bags in Naypyitaw

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The use of polythene bags has been banned by the civic body in Naypyitaw, the new capital of Burma, where it is being seized in the municipal markets.

The ban in Naypyitaw enforced on October 6 followed that in Mandalay in June this year.

“We implemented the ban in Mandalay Division as part of an environmental campaign. It was enforced mainly in the markets following a notice two weeks in advance, stuck in the markets and elsewhere,” an official of the Naypyitaw City Development Committee told Mizzima.

On the suggestion of a NGO in Burma the ‘Forest Resource and Environment Development Association’ (FREDA), the Mandalay City Development Committee issued a notice to halt the use of polythene bags by June 21. Now Naypyitaw has followed suit. Its deadline for putting a stop to the use of plastic bags was October 5. This is the second step in Burma for stopping the use of polythene bags.

“In the notice, we told people not to use and sell polythene bags. But we didn’t say we would seize the bags used, arrest them and fine them after the deadline. We told people to use natural leaves such as lotus leaves, banana leaves among others in lieu of polythene bags,” an official of Naypyitaw City Development Committee said.

The civic body seized 83 viss (3.6 lbs) of polythene bags from October 6 to 13. About 19 viss of bags were surrendered to the civic body within a week. Sellers using natural leaves for packing have been exempted from market tax. The civic body has placed orders for new bags made of thin plastic sheets covered with cloth, it is learnt.

Polythene bags are hazardous for the environment as it is not biodegradable and choke the drainage system in monsoon. It is dangerous for animals if consumed. The bags damage footpaths too, FREDA said. Unlike plastic bags, the polythene bags are not recyclable.

Despite the ban in Mandalay, polythene bags are still being used, a local resident said.


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