Biodegradable Plastic Bags And Non-woven Bags Also Included In Plastic Bag Ban
Such bags contained a varying percentage of heavy metals and possess a negative impact to the environment.
By Kinley Yangden | Daily Bhutan
While the nationwide plastic bag ban has been rolled out across the country last Monday (April 1), several proposals have been submitted to the National Environment Commission Secretariats (NECS) on biodegradable plastic bags as an alternative to conventional plastic carry bags.
According to NECS, they conducted some study on biodegradable plastic bags, including a heavy metal test on one of the samples that they received.
The results showed that such bags contained a varying percentage of heavy metals and possess a negative impact to the environment.
Biodegradable bags. (Photo: NEC)
According to a source, NECS said they consulted experts from the United Nations (UN) agency on biodegradable bags and non-woven bags too, and found that some biodegradable plastic forms certain microplastic materials, which causes threat to marine life and also to humans.
“Many biodegradable plastics are actually plastics that mimic biodegradability due to the addition of additives to degrade those plastics. Moreover, they require controlled conditions for degradation and if they get mixed with other waste, it affects the rate of degradation and some do not even degrade,” said NECS in a statement.
Non-woven bags are “worse than plastic bags”
The usage of colourful non-woven bags was also proposed, but NECS said that such bags are “actually worse than plastic bags”.
Non-woven bags are "worse than" plastic bags. (Photo: NEC)
“They are made from spun bond polypropylene or terephthalate glycolester. Polypropylene and polyethylene take over 50 years to degrade. When the temperature is high, polyethylene will release harmful substances. Since the materials used to make the non-woven bags are also plastics, (the bags) also possess equal or more threat to the environment”, said NECS.
NECS cautions that both biodegradable bags and non-woven bags are also included in the plastic bag ban. Any use of such products “should not be encouraged”.
Fines and penalties
With the plastic bag ban, any business establishment found selling or using plastic bags will be levied Nu 500 for the first offence and Nu 1,000 for the second offence. And for a third violation, business licenses will be cancelled.
NEC also issued an infringement notice to the implementing agencies across the nation. The notice authorises the implementing agencies to impose fines and penalties on offenders.