Bahrain bans use of plastic bags starting July

Save environment, say no to plastic bags

Bahrain will ban the use of plastic bags in July, a senior environment official has said. Mohammed Mubarak Bin Daina, the chief executive of the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE), said the ban would regulate and phase out the use of plastic bags. “The first phase will focus on single-use plastic bags as well as banning the import of non-biodegradable plastic bags. Later phases will witness a permanent ban on the use of plastic bags at certain malls and supermarkets,” he said.

The implementation phase for the remaining plastic products is being worked out by the SCE and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, he said. Guidelines for manufacturers and suppliers on reducing plastic waste to ensure a smooth transition will be issued soon. Bin Daina said an intensive market research on Bahrain’s plastic production reaffirmed that switching to the production of degradable plastic would not affect production lines. “The SCE has also conducted a market study on the consumption of biodegradable and compostable plastic products in Bahrain in order to measure the impact of finding viable alternative solutions to plastic. The study focused on the consumptions of plastic use in the foodservice industry.”

Citizens’ awareness for environmental conservation has facilitated the implementation of various initiatives that aim to combat climate change, and noted that the SCE has received a number of community initiatives from individuals and businesses alike, Bin Daina added. Bahrain joins a growing list of countries in banning the import of plastic waste, following the United Nation’s call to mitigate ocean pollution and climate change.

On January 1 this year, South Korea called it quits on disposable plastic bags. Under the rule, supermarkets are banned from using single-use plastic bags and even selling them at the check-out. Plastic bags can be used only for wet produce, such as fish and meat. Around 2,000 outlets of major discount chains, 11,000 supermarkets with sales floor spaces of at least 165 square meters and 18,000 bakeries are affected by the rule to boost efforts to manage waste and conserve natural resources. In September, the capital Seoul said it would ramp up efforts to turn into a plastic-free zone.

By 2022, the city aims to reduce by half the usage of disposal plastic cups, umbrella covers and plastic bags at major public facilities. Public parks, strolling pathways along the Han River and other venues administered by the city will scale back use of plastics. Any kiosks or convenience stores that want to open near these establishments will have to sign an agreement that includes a clause on restricted use of plastics, Yonhap news agency reported. The city will also seek to replace plastic tools used for cheering in two major baseball stadiums.

By Habib Toumi

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