(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) is in the process of preparing Omani standard specifications for biodegradable plastic bags.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Saud bin Nasir al Khusaibi, director general of Standards and Specifications in MoCI, said that a working group comprising the ministries of Environment and Climate Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Health, Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Oman Environmental Services Holding Company and the Environment Society of Oman has been set up to look into rampant use of non-biodegradable plastic bags.
He added that a team had recently visited plastic manufacturing and importing units in Oman as well as in the UAE. ''Their work mechanisms, the materials used and the health and environment aspects they follow were discussed. As UAE has already adopted standards on biodegradable plastic and made it mandatory for all manufacturers and importers to supply biodegradable plastic bags, it was a good exploratory trip for the team to learn about the industry and its practices, which will be helpful in drafting the Omani standards,'' said Khusaibi.
He added that Omani standards will ensure that the groundwork is complete before the ministerial decision banning the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags comes into force. ''We know how plastic bags are polluting the environment, and it is with this aim we are revising the Omani standards so that there is an end to the use of harmful non-degradable plastics bags that we see everywhere.''
He added that there was no time frame allotted for the new standards to come in.
Khusaibi said that there was however, no intention to put a blanket ban on the use of plastic bags but to have an acceptable environment-friendly alternative.
He added said that before the new legislation comes in, the working group plans awareness campaigns to sensitise people about the adverse affects of non-biodegradable plastic bags. ''We want to prepare customers as well as the industry and get them accustomed to the idea before implementing the law.''
The team is currently studying the UAE standard specifications on plastic bags in order to prepare an Omani standardised specification. ''As currently there is no Gulf Standard Specifications on plastic bags, each state in GCC can have its own standards. However, there are plans to take from the UAE standards on plastic bags by the GCC Standardization Organization