JEDDAH – A decision announcing a ban on the use of plastic bags in the Kingdom is expected to be issued shortly, a local daily reported.
A draft on this issue has been formulated and sent to the relevant authorities for approval, according to sources in the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME). The decision comes in line with steps taken by other countries to ban the use of plastic bags and sacks for heated foods, and substitute them with paper ones.
Factories producing plastic bags will be given two options: Halt operations or shift to producing alternate products that do not have a negative environment impact. The PME and Madinah Mayoralty said that the use of plastic bags may contaminate food and that they are non-biodegradable which causes great damage to the environment.
Madinah Municipal Council decided earlier this year to ban the use of plastic bags and cups effective November 2012.
Some owners of factories have already expressed their intention to shift their businesses to other fields such as producing ready-made clothes. A factory owner in Jeddah, who preferred anonymity, said most factory owners still do not know whether the decision will ban the use of plastic bags for food items only or altogether. “Most owners will decide then what to do,” he added.
Abdullah Al-Saneh, an investor in the field, found it highly unlikely that most factories will go out of business. He believed that factories will adapt tp the new procedures and manufacture their products accordingly and in a way that takes environment protection into consideration. “Most factories in the Kingdom have production lines other than plastic bags. I think these factories will focus more on other lines. Small factories will be the most affected in terms of income as they do not have multiple production lines.” — SG