On a journey towards making the country environment friendly, Oman takes a strong step by imposing ban on import of plastic bags with effect from 1st January 2023.
Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion (MOCIIP) issued the order number 519/2022 that prohibited companies, institutions, and individuals from importing plastic bags to the country. The order also made a provision of punishment for violating this ban. A fine of 1000 OMR for breaching the ban for the first time and double the amount on repeating it.
This step has been welcomed by Rumaitha Al Busaidi, a leading environment activists. In support of this ban she said that it would go a long way in preserving the Omani environment from pollution and waste harmful to the rich marine life and wildlife. She appreciated the efforts made by Oman to fulfill its commitment of achieving its net-zero target by 2050.
It should be noted that the Environment Authority of Oman had already implemented the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags in January 2021.
Dr. Mohammed Al Kasbi, director of chemicals and wastes management at the Environment Authority said that The EA along with other stakeholders have concrete plans to make Oman one of the leading environment-friendly countries in the world.
Oman is a signatory to Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal.
Oman is one of many countries in the Middle East region working towards reducing its dependency on single-use plastics that are responsible for the death of thousands of marine animals who getting killed each year either by ingesting plastic or getting tangled in it.
Dr. Al Kasbi said that Eliminating plastic bags is one of the challenges that the ministry seeks to overcome in cooperation with the concerned authorities. In addition to this the ministry also provides specification to manufacturers and suppliers with good alternative to plastic bags
Although the ban will not affect the plastic production facilities within the country. In fact, the decision intends to help local plastic production units to fulfill the local market demands. This will limit the unfair competition from imported products that do not meet environmental standards. In a step further, Oman had already replaced single-use bags with thicker 50-micron bags.