In Sri Lanka, 20 million lunch sheets, 15 million plastic bags and 10 million empty bottles end up in the environment every day. The only two companies that make plastic bottles earn huge profits. Hemantha Vithanage, founder and executive director of the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), talks about the problem.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – Hemantha Vithanage, founder and executive director of the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) in Sri Lanka, wants to eliminate plastic bottles and shopping bags and make the recycling of plastic materials legally compulsory. His goal is to save the environment from pollution.
The environmental protection expert notes that "Even a small country like Fiji has mandatory recycling for plastic bottles. Why can’t Sri Lanka?" he told AsiaNews.
he acknowledged that the Sri Lankan "government has banned the use of lunch sheets, bottles and shopping bags with effect from 1st September 2017, but they continue to end up in the environment in large quantities".
For example, "in hotels across the country, when morning, afternoon and night meals are provided, lunch sheets are placed on top of the plate. This is never done in any other country. This is why such a large quantity of plastic continues to end up in the environment.”
Every day, "20 million lunch sheets, 15 million plastic bags and 10 million empty bottles are dumped into the environment. This way, environmental pollution will never end."
"The production costs of plastic bottles is around two rupees (US$ 0,013) per piece, but profits for the only two companies involved in making plastic are huge: 50 rupees (US$ 0.32) for one and 16.50 rupees (US$ 0.11) for the other".
According to Vithanage, the only solution is mandatory recycling. "Manufacturers should reuse plastic content after it is recycled.” Even better, “All water bottles should made in glass bottles or be recycled." Sadly, “bottlers earn huge profits without recycling.”