bag cooler non-woven – Courtesy to Pixibay bag cooler non-woven – Courtesy to Pixibay

Egypt’s initiative to eliminate plastic bags

Sat, May. 5, 2018
CAIRO – 5 May 2018: In line with the global move to reduce the consumption of plastic bags, Egyptian Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy extended the activities of his ministry’s new national initiative called “Enough Plastic Bags”.

Fahmy participated on Friday in an initiative campaign by distributing 4,500 non-woven bags as alternatives to traditional non-recycled plastic bags. About 4,500 eco-friendly biodegradable plastic bags – bags that decompose through living organisms – have been circulated since the launch of the initiative.

The Ministry of Environment launched the EU-funded initiative on June 5, 2017, targeting Egypt’s strong dependency on plastic bags and aiming to reduce their use due to the negative effects on the environment and the economy.

Shehab Abdel Wahab, head of the Environmental Affairs Agency, declared that Egyptians use about 12 billion plastic bags each year. The menace of non-biodegradable plastic bags causes severe problems to the Nile River and the seas; hence, it negatively affects environmental tourism and diving.

Many animals die after swallowing these plastic bags after their disposal. Plastic bags are also often burned, releasing toxic fumes into the air. It’s no doubt that the disposal of plastic bags has a negative effect on climate change.

As part of the initiative, the Ministry of Environment has launched a public advertisement campaign to raise awareness on the hazard of plastic bags.

Egypt’s waste output is 16.2 million tons, of which plastic represents six percent, according to Nagwa El Maanawy, head of the Egyptian Plastic Technology Center, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry. That is the equivalent of 970,000 tons of plastic waste, of which 45 percent is recycled and only five percent reused.

Maanawy told Egypt Today that 50 percent of plastic garbage is not sorted and instead incinerated, which is harmful to the environment.

The ministry has partnered up with the United Nations and the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Regions and Europe (CEDARE) to carry out the initiative

Many other African counties have launched initiatives to put an end to the plastic bag hazard. In 2008, Rwanda became one of the first African countries to impose a complete ban on thin plastic bags as part of its Vision 2020 plan for sustainability. Currently, plastic bags that are used in Rwanda are made from biodegradable materials.
 
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