Sri Lanka’s government announced the implementation of a ban on the production and sale of plastic bags effective Friday, September 1, after the collapse of the island's largest dump led to a rubbish disposal crisis. The ban will reportedly not be enforced until January 2018, and also covers the use or manufacture of expanded polystyrene. Those in violation of the ban will face two-years imprisonment and/or a fine of 10,000 Sri Lankan rupees (USD 65).
The government stated it would replace plastic bags with reusable cloth bags, however there has been widespread opposition to the ban. Sri Lanka's polythene manufacturers claim that around 345,000 employees would lose their jobs.
Demonstrations over the ban are possible in the coming weeks.
On April 14, a large garbage dump in Colombo caught fire and collapsed, killing at least 32 people. Many blamed the accident on the haphazard use of plastic and improper disposal techniques, pressuring the Sri Lankan government to enact the ban.
Travelers are advised to ensure all plastic bags are disposed of before arriving in Sri Lanka and to follow all regulations while in-country. Individuals should avoid all demonstrations as a precaution.
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