Mauritius to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags

Port-Louis- Mauritius (PANA) -- Mauritian Environment Minister Rajesh Bhagwan said Wednesday that only biodegradable plastic bags that conformed to quality specifications, would be authorised for production in the country in 2004.
He said the measure was to control abuse in the use of plastic bags in line with government's waste management policy.
"Mauritius generates between 1,200 and 1,500 tons of wastes everyday," the Minister said, adding that plastics accounted for eight percent of the wastes, with plastic bags alone responsible for three percent.
He warned: "if nothing is done, the figure will increase with the growing consumption.
" Bhagwan said about 300 million plastic bags used by the population were not biodegradable and could remain intact for 50 or even 100 years.
"Such accumulation threatens the fertility of the land and the bags block drainage systems, making more acute the risks of flooding during heavy rains.
They often end up in the lagoon, asphyxiating marine life," the Minister said.
He said local industries would be made to face their environmental responsibilities, by using "green technologies" to curb pollution.
"We expect companies to be more proactive and take initiatives as part of the government policy to promote sustainable development.
The State can no longer afford to spend big money from the public funds for the management of waste and pollution caused by lack of foresight and precaution by companies," the Minister added.
According to the Environment Ministry, the 28 local companies that manufacture plastic bags in the country make a combined annual sale of 500 million rupees (about 17 million US dollars).

12 november 2003 17:47:00




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