Plastic bags to be banned at Alexandria beaches



Fri, 15 Apr 2022 - 02:00 GMT


Fri, 15 Apr 2022 - 02:00 GMT

Fishermen in Alexandria, Egypt- CC via Wikimedia

Fishermen in Alexandria, Egypt- CC via Wikimedia

CAIRO – 15 April 2022: Plastic bags will be banned to be used by beachgoers in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and be replaced by eco-friendly alternatives, said the Egyptian Ministry of Environment in a statement on Friday.


The decision was taken during a first meeting held by officials from the Environmental Affairs Authority in Alexandria as part of the “No Plastic Bags” initiative, under the patronage of Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, in cooperation with a number of concerned NGOs.


The meeting resulted in framing a timetable to prevent the distribution of free plastic bags, besides implementing an intensive campaign to raise awareness of the initiative and the danger of single-use plastic bags on the environment and public health, the statement said.


The initiative aims to declare Alexandria governorate free of plastic bags according to a specific timetable.


Single-use bags intoxicate the land, as most single-use plastic bags take thousands of years to decompose and turn into small plastic particles, which leash toxins in the soil and water. As per a study conducted by German researchers and published by the UN Environment programme in 2019, 80-90 percent of the plastic particles exist in drainages and release toxins into sewage sludge, which is considered a soil fertilizer. Thus, humans could eat plants cultivated in toxic soil and affect their health.


Also, marine life and ecosystems are endangered by plastic particles which are found in a huge number in oceans. Marine animals like whales, dolphins and other rare fish die from eating plastic bags. For instance, a whale was found dead along a shore in the Philippines in 2019 after swallowing one hundred tons of plastic. Also, a dolphin was found dead along a beach in the Red Sea’s Hurghada after a plastic bottle got stuck into its mouth, the Egyptian al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reported in November 2019. Hence, marine life in oceans, which contains 51 trillion plastic particles as per the UN Environment Programme’s data, is substantially facing a fatal threat.


Thus, the government has launched its national strategy to reduce the usage of disposable bags; a national committee has been formed and chaired by the Minister of Environment and representatives of the concerned body to carry out the strategy.


The Minister of Environment highlighted the importance of having green certificates for establishments that take into account the use of alternatives to plastic bags, noting that the Ministry of Environment is studying the possibility of providing incentives to encourage all environment-friendly alternatives.


Additional reporting by Samar Samir



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