FILE – Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy
CAIRO – 5 June 2018: Ministry of Environment participated on Tuesday in the 2018 World Environment Day under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”, which focuses on how plastic, one of the most dangerous pollutants, affects our ecosystems and environment.
Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy said the ministry launched in 2017 a new national initiative to reduce the consumption of plastic bags, and use biodegradable bags as well as long term bags.
Fahmy said during the celebrations of the World Environment Day that bags made of recycled fabric are a better alternative for plastic, adding that plastic bags will no longer be available for free.
In the same context, Mohamed Shehab, CEO of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), said that the national EU-funded initiative to reduce the consumption of plastic bags has been launched on June 5, 2017, during which around 4.5 million tons of biodegradable plastic bags were distributed in 18 months.
He further explained that Egypt is committed to the 2030 strategic development plan for sustainable development to stop using plastic bags, remarking that several Arab and African countries have already done so.
He said that Egypt consumes 12 billion tons of single-use plastic bags annually, at a cost of LE 2 billion, adding that the agency tends to reduce the use of plastic bags through encouraging producers to manufacture disposable and paper bags.
In line with the global move to reduce the consumption of plastic bags, Fahmy extended the activities of his ministry’s new national initiative called “Enough Plastic Bags”.
Fahmy participated on May 4 in an initiative by distributing 4,500 non-woven bags as alternatives to traditional non-recycled plastic bags. About 4,500 eco-friendly biodegradable plastic bags, which decompose through living organisms, have been circulated since the launch of the initiative.
Many animals die after swallowing these plastic bags. Plastic bags are also often burned, releasing toxic fumes into the atmosphere.
As part of the initiative, the Ministry of Environment has launched a public advertisement campaign to raise awareness on the hazard of plastic bags.
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, all plastic bags used in Rwanda are biodegradable.