Some 40 tonnes of banned lunch sheets worth Rs.32 million were detected this year during raids carried out countrywide, Central Environmental Authority (CEA) Investigation Director N.F. Gamage told Daily Mirror.
He said the raids were conducted in collaboration with the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and respective environment units of the police.
The CEA launched countrywide programmes to raid illegal lunch sheet producers, sellers (non-biodegradable polythene products) and users since January last year.
The regulation published under Section 23W of the National Environmental Act bearing No. 2034/34 dated September 1 2017, prohibited the manufacture of food wrappers using polythene as a raw material with effect from September 1, 2017.
However, this regulation was enforced from January 2018 after a grace period for the manufacturers.
Mr Gamage said last year they detected eight tonnes of banned lunch sheets, which had increased to 40 tonnes in 2019 and that 819 cases of violating the law were reported in 2018 while 650 cases were this year.
“We can observe a decline in the number of cases being reported in 2019 compared to 2018 while the quantity is the other way round. This is because of the fact that the CEA gave more priority in detecting lunch sheets from mammoth factories in 2019,” he said.
Mr Gamage said a majority of cases had been reported from the Western Province.
“We will continue our raids this year as well with the support from the new government,” he said. (Sheain Fernandopulle)