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Sri Lanka bans plastic shopping bags

The Sri Lankan government on Friday banned the use and manufacture of plastic shopping bags with immediate effect.

Accordingly, the manufacture of food containers, plates, cups and spoons made from expanded polystyrene has also been banned for use, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority, Lal Mervin Dharmasiri, told the media that the ban followed a proposal by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Accordingly the cabinet agreed to ban the production of polythene less than 20 microns.

Polythene and Styrofoam is used by local shops to wrap lunch. Polythene bags will be replaced with reusable cloth bags under the new law, the CEA said.

Sri Lanka’s polythene manufacturers said 345,000 employees would lose their jobs.

The government said although the ban was effective from Friday, it will not take legal action on the manufacturers and users till January 2018 in order to give them time to switch to other alternatives.

Anyone found using or manufacturing the banned products thereafter will face a two-year imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 Sri Lankan rupees ($65).

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