Kathmandu: Government Toughens Ban on Plastic Bags

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May 29, 2016- The government has decided to toughen the plastic bag ban campaign in the country, considering its impact on human health, local environment and urban beauty. 

The budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 unveiled on Saturday has stated that the import and export, sales, distribution and use of toxic plastic and polypropylene bags would not be allowed in the country. 

The government has instead encouraged the plastic manufacturers to move towards alternatives to plastics by providing waiver on Value Added Tax for the import of machinery. The manufacturers who want to shift away from the plastic companies will have to pay one percent custom duty. 

In April last year, the Ministry of Environment had enforced the ban on plastic bags with thickness below 40 microns in Kathmandu Valley. 

However, a year on the Valley is still grappling with the challenge in implementing the ban effectively despite the provision of penalty up to Rs 50,000 to those found producing plastic bags. 

Authorities at the Environment Ministry claimed the plastic ban in Kathmandu remained unimplemented due to lack of support and coordination from other concerned ministries, including Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, and Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Agriculture.  

“Without educating people about the negative impacts of non-degradable plastic bags on public health, and offering better alternatives to plastic bags, the attempt to discourage the use of plastic bags that is widely used in day-to-day life is impossible,” said Rama Sharma, a housewife from Lokanthali, Bhaktapur. 

From our past campaigns and decisions taken to discourage the use of plastic bags, we can say that without strict monitoring and commitment from the concerned authorities, and public support to discourage plastics and move towards other alternatives, effective enforcement of the ban remains a big challenge, says Ganesh Shah, former environment minister.

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Originally published here.

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