Ban affordable quarter bottles for starters
By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) is urging to amend its act under the blessings of the new government to minimize the hard liquor culture in Sri Lanka and for starters to prohibit the easily purchasable quarter bottles.
Chairman NATA Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksa addressing a workshop during the weekend to create a new action plan for the prevention of hard liquor culture in the country said the present laws have to be amended to make this effort more effective.
He pointed out many efforts by the NATA in the recent past to tighten the legal framework to reduce the profits earned by the alcohol companies had not been very effective and thus the laws should be amended.
“One of internationally accepted methods to discourage the use of hard liquor is to increase its price by the relevant authorities. This has been even prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an effective method to minimise the consumption of harmful hard liquor. When the price of a liquor bottle with high alcohol percentage had been increased it would not be affordable to many common consumers,” he said. “But in Sri Lanka the leading hard liquor manufacturers have found loopholes to gain profits even though the prices were increased by introducing quarter bottles with a low price, which is affordable to many common users.
This is a dangerous trend as many low income consumers could depend on them and the highest form of environment pollution occurs as dumping of these small empty bottles haphazardly,” Dr. Rajapaksa said.
The NATA Chairman is of the view that the entire price regulation system of the hard liquor industry has failed owing to the manufacturing of these quarter bottles.
Therefore, we will expedite the process to amend the present laws to ban the much affordable small hard liquor bottles from the market in the near future, he affirmed.