January 6, 2020 / 1:30 PM / 23 days ago

Bangladesh to ban use of single-use plastic in hotels and restaurants

FILE PHOTO: A man on a boat collects plastic materials from dirty water in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s High Court on Monday ordered the government to ban single-use plastics in coastal areas and in hotels and restaurants in one year to combat pollution.

In 2002 the south Asian nation was among the first countries to ban the use of plastic and polythene bags in an effort to stop them collecting in waterways and on land - although the ban has had little success.

The court also ordered the government to strictly enforce the ban on polythene under the existing law, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, told reporters.

“We must curb the use of plastics,” the lawyer said, adding it caused serious health hazards and environmental pollution.

Concerns are growing worldwide about plastic pollution, especially in oceans, where nearly 50% of single-use plastic products end up, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, studies here have shown.

Worldwide, around 100 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, according to the United Nations. Scientists have found large amounts of micro plastic in the intestines of deep-dwelling ocean mammals such as whales.

Annually 87,000 tonnes of single-use plastics, including plastic bags, bottles, cups, plates and straws are thrown away in Bangladesh, according to a study by the Environment and Social Development Organization.

Reporting by Ruma Paul, editing by Louise Heavens

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