Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera appealed to the public not to use polythene and plastic decorations for the Vesak festival.
The minister requested a report from the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) on the expenditure incurred on the annual consumption of polythene and plastic products in the country and the import of plastics and polythene products.
“According to information released by the CEA, the country spends Rs.58 billion annually on importing polythene and plastics.
The amount of polythene and plastic imported to the country annually stands at 177,197 tons. But only 7.1% or 12,636 tons are recycled. The remaining 92.09% is released into the environment,” the Minister said.
Therefore, the Minister urges the public to refrain from using plastic and polythene decorations as much as possible during this Vesak full moon day to prevent massive environmental damage caused by plastics and polythene.
Due to the current COVID pandemic situation in the country, the Government requested the public to cut down on pilgrimages during this Vesak and to observe the sacredness following the Amisa Pooja.
The Minister also said it is an act of gratitude to Gautama Buddha by protecting the environment on this holy day that depicts his love for the environment. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)