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Ban on lunch sheets, Regiform lunch boxes

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) is contemplating on banning lunch sheets, regiform lunch boxes and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) small bottles of water and other drinks next year, CEA Director General K H. Muthukudarachchi said.

Speaking to the Media yesterday, Muthukudarachchi said a Committee of Experts appointed as of a Cabinet paper submitted by President Maithripala Sirisena has come up with these recommendations.

He said the Committee has also proposed to increase the ban on polythene less than 20 microns up to 40 microns.

Muthukudarachchi said the recommendations have been forwarded to the President, adding that those would be implemented next year with the ideas and proposals of the President.

The Expert Committee was appointed in September to prepare a national policy and an action plan on the use of polythene, plastic and bio-degradable plastic. However, the Director General said a grace period of about six to seven months would be facilitated for the public and manufacturers to adjust themselves to the new regulations before they come into effect.

He said CEA conducted about 1,000 raids this year and proceeded legal action against 500 offenders who produced, stored or sold polythene less than 20 microns violating the law. This law was implemented from February this year following a grace period.

“The import of polythene less than 20 microns has been completely stopped and we are conducting raids on manufacturers and sellers who violate this law. The Consumer Affairs Authority is supporting us in this endeavour,” he said.

Emission monitoring under CEA scrutiny

The emission levels of the country’s power plants and large scale industries with furnaces and boilers will come under thorough scrutiny of the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) from next year. CEA Director General K.H. Muthukudaarachchi speaking to the Daily News yesterday said the Gazette spelling out the emission control regulations would be issued by the middle of next year.

He said emission monitoring would begin soon after the gazette.

Muthukudarachchi said once the gazette received the consent of the Legal Draftsman’s Department and the Attorney General, it would be signed by the President and implemented with immediate effect.

He said the CEA has procured equipment spending Rs. 30 million to its lab to monitor emission levels.

He added nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydro carbon and suspended particulate matter (SPM) would be checked as of the new regulations.

“We will first check on the emission levels of the power plants, steel industries and other large scale industries with furnaces and boilers. We have about 200 such plants and factories in the country. Then we will gradually apply those regulations to other factories also.

The factories with emissions will be required to install emission control systems. Legal actions will be taken if emission levels exceed the stipulated parameters,” Muthukudarachchi said.

He said an ‘Online Water Quality Monitoring Station’ would be installed in Kelani River next year with the funding of Rs. 50 million from the Coca Cola Company.

“Then we can detect any variation of the water quality via an online system,” he said.
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