Parliament has passed a single-use plastic (SUP) regulation bill to the Committee on Environment and Climate Change, which will change existing environmental regulations and impose a production and distribution ban on environmentally damaging SUPs assigned by the President.
The bill was sent to the Committee at Wednesday’s virtual parliamentary sitting, which was approved by 60 votes
While introducing the government-backed bill to parliament, Hoarafushi MP Ahmed Saleem claimed that the bill allows for a phased ban on single-use plastic distribution and production.
The bill empowers the President to enact a phased ban on SUPs, and it requires the President to release the first list of banned products by June 1st and publish it in the Government Gazette.
The bill also requires the publication of a date on which the ban on the products on the list will go into effect, as well as the requirements of the products that should be considered when imposing the ban.
The product requirements are:
- Dependent on the number of such products produced in the Maldives but not used, as well as the degree to which they are used.
- Dependent on the availability of the number of alternatives to such products in the country.
Last year, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih published a list of commodities designated as SUPs that were barred from import following the amendment to the Export-Import Act.
Drinking straws, plates, cutlery, and stirrers; styrofoam lunch boxes; 30×30 cm carrier bags; betel nuts in plastic wrap; below 250ml coffee cups; cotton wool buds; 50 ml and smaller toiletry bottles; and below 500ml PET beverage bottles are among the items on the list. Importation of carrier bags with a thickness of fewer than 50 microns, 50-200 ml toiletry bottles, and one-liter PET beverage bottles will be prohibited after December 1, 2022.