A total of 100 billion shopping bags are being issued to consumers every year by the supermarket chains and 10 million lunch sheets are used, which are causing an environmental hazard, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.
A joint programme was held at the Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo by the Environment Ministry and the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to mark ‘World Earth Day'.
“Many people are of the opinion that protecting the environment is just about planting trees. However, plastics and polythene pose a serious threat to the entire world. Our country is the only country in the world that uses lunch sheets. The population of our country is 21 million. Every day 10 million lunch sheets are added to the environment by the people of our country,” the Minister said.
The supermarket chains also confirm that billions of shopping bags were being released into our environment each year, he said.
“Discarding used-up carbon pens is leading to environmental damage. With our current school system, 80 to 100 kilograms of carbon pens are released to the environment every day,” Minister Amaraweera said.
Therefore the Ministry had taken steps to ban several types of plastic and polythene products while making a historic decision. No previous environment Minister had touched on this issue before, he said.
Meanwhile, Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake said that around one million people visited Colombo every day and the environmental pollution caused by the entry of a similar number of vehicles into the city was very high.
Therefore, the CMC and the Environment Ministry commenced the planting of 100,000 saplings within the Colombo Municipal Council area yesterday.
Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake, Environment Ministry Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Foreign Ambassadors and many other dignitaries were also present on the occasion. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)