Non-degradable lunch sheets banned | Sunday Observer
To protect environment and public health

Non-degradable lunch sheets banned

1 August, 2021

The Environment Ministry has decided to implement the ban on lunch sheets made from non-degradable polythene from August 1 (today), Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

According to Minister Amaraweera, the ban will be implemented to protect the environment and public health. This decision can never be implemented by the Government alone. It needs the support of all sections of society.

Minister Amaraweera said in 2017 a Gazette notification was issued banning lunch sheets. But the manufacturers and sales organisations and the public were not interested in obeying the ban. This year, after discussions with the authorities, a decision was taken to strictly ban production from August 1, in accordance with the 2017 Gazette notification. Minister Amaraweera said that if anyone manufactures, distributes or sells lunch sheets made of polythene, the fine will be increased tenfold and all equipment used for this purpose will be confiscated. The support of all sections of society is needed to implement the decision.

Central Environmental Authority (CEA) sources said that the number of lunch sheets released to the environment per day is around 15 million and about 5,475 million lunch sheets are released to the environment per year by people and institutions without any recycling process. It takes about 100-200 years for it to decompose. Even after decomposition, they get attached to the soil as micro-plastic particles and eventually enter the human body through food and water.

The use of these non-degradable lunch sheets made of polythene has caused great environmental damage and an impact in the country. Lunch sheets are carelessly released into the environment by millions every year. All this polythene and plastic eventually end up in drinking water sources and the ocean. Last year’s Environmental Audit Report stated that 65,000 km of dead sea is being created by these plastics and polythene in the Bay of Bengal.