Sri Lanka is the only place on earth that lay a toxic lunch sheet on the ceramic plate for eating. The use of 20 million lunch sheets and 15 million shopping bags by 21milion Sri Lankans in a single day is a collective environmental crime against the nature and the future generation. Both consumers and the plastic manufacturers are equally responsible for this crime. This has to stop now before we destroy our soil, beautiful landscapes such as rivers, beaches and mountains.
“We know that there are plenty traditional alternatives and modern natural biodegradable plastics to meet the national requirement. However, we have learned that certain plastic manufacturers are trying to mislead the authorities and the political leadership for promoting so-called OXO-BIODEGRADABLE plastic sheets and bags” said Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Justice.
According to the research findings in Europe and other countries Oxo-biodegrable are equally or more harmful than the conventional High-Density Polyethylene sheets. According to the scientists Oxo-fragmentable plastics are conventional plastic materials with artificial additives that do not biodegrade but merely fragment into small pieces that remain in and potentially harm the environment and endanger recycling and composting. They add salts of heavy metals such as Cobault and Nickel to initiate this fragmentation. These additives are supposed to enable the biodegradation of apparently non-biodegradable plastics.
It is assumed that oxo-degradable materials only disintegrate and finally visibly disappear under the influence of light (UV radiation) and oxygen. If no real biodegradation takes place the formation of invisible plastic fragments, contributing to the environmental and health hazard of micro plastics in the environment. Such plastics will break into small pieces but will not degrade to produce CO2, water and Humus which is the result of real biodegradation. This UV radiation initiated fragmentation can happen in very dry countries and not in the garbage with heavy moisture which is the case in Sri Lanka.
Other than hazard of microplastics, adding heavy metals such as Cobalt and Nickle will make unknown health impacts and will destroy the soil quality. These toxic contaminated composts/ soil cannot be used in organic cultivation.
Therefore, we advise Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Environment and the Central Environmental Authority to defeat this move to accept Oxo-biodegradable plastics as biodegradable plastics. We caution that this will only result in reversing the ban imposed on the shopping bags and lunch sheets.
“We can only accept true biodegradable plastics as an alternative and it is the common responsibility of the authorities and the manufacturers to introduce real alternative to non-degradable HDPE bags and sheets rather than introducing fake solution such as Oxo-biodegradable plastics” said Hemantha Withanage.
For more information:
Hemantha Withanage: 0777600503