The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has announced the impending implementation of a novel QR code system to monitor the recycling of plastic bottles across the country. This initiative constitutes a transformative step towards addressing the alarming increase in plastic waste and the environmental consequences that come with it. The revelation was made during a recent meeting of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development.
The Environmental Impact of Common Plastic Products
The Oversight Committee and CEA officials engaged in an in-depth discussion on the environmental damage stemming from the rampant use of lunch sheets, a niche practice unique to Sri Lanka, and the danger posed by phthalates, a dangerous carcinogen. With the awareness of these often overlooked detrimental practices, the CEA is currently revising the Environmental Act.
A Possible Solution: Producer Responsibility
In line with advanced waste management practices worldwide, the Committee made a recommendation that the task of recollecting recycled plastic bottles be allocated to the companies that manufacture and distribute these products. This proposition led to the conception of the QR code system, advertised as a tool to keep track of the recollection and recycling of plastic bottles. The proposed system is slated to be incorporated into the imminent amendments to the Environmental Act.
Financial Incentives to Encourage Recycling
To make the process of recycling more appealing, the Committee has proposed that a lucrative payment scheme be established for individuals who return used plastic bottles. This innovative approach not only encourages higher participation in recycling efforts but also elevates the public perception of waste management to an income-generating activity.
Identifying Imported Single-Use Plastic Products
In response to the growing global concern about the impact of single-use plastics, the chair of the Sectoral Oversight Committee Ajith Mannapperuma has assigned the officials with the task of recognising and listing all single-use plastic equipment and materials presently being imported into the country. A comprehensive report detailing the findings is set to be submitted to the Committee upon completion of the study.
An array of distinguished individuals graced the meeting, including MPs Jayantha Ketagoda, Dr. Thilak Rajapakshe, Waruna Liyanage, and a representation of officials from the Ministry of Environment, the Central Environmental Authority, and Sri Lanka Customs.