The Sri Lankan government has taken measures to ban or restrict the use of polythene to minimize impact of disposing such items on the environment.

Sri Lankan President His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment has proposed implementing a set of short term, medium term and long term measures to minimize the use of polythene.

In-light of the recent events the Women Agriculture Extension & local food production unit of the Department of Agriculture has come with alternatives for minimizing polythene usage at the Hela Bojun outlets across the country.

In collaboration with the Biodiversity for Food & Nutrition Project, the Women Agriculture Extension unit conducted the first awareness campaign on minimizing usage of polyethene in Hela Bojun, Gannoruwa on 25th July 2017 with many to follow.

The BFN project aims to upgrade and introduce attractive eco-friendly packaging for serving food at Hela Bojun outlets. Marking the introductory phase biodegradable paper bags were distributed free of charge during the campaign and clay plates were introduced to 17 Hela Bojun outlets for rotational use.
Dissemination of the harmful effects caused by utilization of polythene and appropriate disposal methods were disseminated to the public through implementation of street drama.

Customers visiting Hela Bojun were advised to use reusable bags and carrying containers for liquid based food and beverages for take away. Reusable bags will be available at Hela Bojun outlets at a cost in the future, minimizing usage of polythene.
List of some of the short term measures proposed by the President include:

  • Implement the prevailing regulations for prohibition of use, sale and production of polythene equals or less than 20 microns.
  • Prohibition of sale, importation and production of lunch sheets.
  • Prohibition of sale, importation and production of containers, plates, cups, spoons made using polystyrene.
  • Prohibition of sale of processed or cooked meals packed in polythene containers.
  • Promotion of providing paper, cloth or reed bags or biologically degradable plastics for customers when purchasing items in stores.
  • Prohibition of burning polythene and plastic in open places.
  • Introduction and promotion of biologically degradable polythene and plastics.