MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sri Lanka is banning single-use plastic as announced by the government last week. The move follows a series of wild elephant and deer deaths from plastic poisoning, said Packaginginsights.
Cabinet spokesman and media minister, Bandula Gunawardana, says the manufacture or sale of plastic cutlery, cocktail shakers and artificial flowers will be prohibited from June this year. The move was recommended by a panel appointed 18 months ago to study the impact of plastic waste on the environment and wildlife. Autopsies showed numerous animals had died after eating plastics mixed with food waste.
Although non-biodegradable plastic bags were banned in 2017 due to concerns over flash floods, local manufacture and sale of plastic products continued.
Sri Lanka’s top authority on Asian elephants, Jayantha Jayewardene, welcomed the move to stop single-use plastic but told global news agency AFP the ban should be extended to biodegradable plastic bags. “These bags are getting into the food chain of elephants and wildlife and that is not a good thing,” he says.
Many elephants in Sri Lanka suffer agonizing deaths after foraging for food at dumps filled with plastic waste.
Elephants are considered sacred and protected by law in Sri Lanka, but about 400 die a year due to human-elephant conflict near wildlife reserves, as do approximately 50 people.
Shrinking habitat has led to elephants raiding villages looking for food and many suffer agonizing deaths after foraging for food at dumps filled with plastic waste. Dozens of wild deer died from plastic poisoning in the northeastern district of Trincomalee about five years ago, prompting the government to ban the open dumping of garbage near jungle reserves.
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