OMAN – The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment promotion of Oman has issued a ministerial decision that bans imports of plastic bags with effect from January 2023.

The decision is in line with the ministry’s plan to regulate market activities about the import of products that damage the environment, according to Sami Salim Al Sahib, Director General of the Industry, as reported by Oman News Agency (ONA).

The ban issued in coordination with the Environment Authority will support Omani factories by limiting unfair competition from imported products that do not meet environmental standards.

Article one of the decision bans companies, institutions and individual from importing plastic bags into the country, reported Oman Observer.

As per the second article, violators will be fined OMR1,000 (US$2,600), which will be doubled when repeated.

“Eliminating plastic bags is one of the challenges that the ministry seeks to overcome in cooperation with the concerned authorities and find specifications for manufacturers and suppliers to ensure the correct transition to alternatives to plastic bags that harm the environment,” said Sahib, as reported by local news.

Al Sahib added that the decision will not affect local plastic production factories.

The implementation of this decision is expected to boost sales and production capacity to meet local market demands.

Meanwhile, the ministry is collaborating with the departments converned to issue specifications and instructions to help industrialists and importers in switching to alternatives to plastic bags.

The decision to ban the import of plastic bags comes after the Environment Authority (EA) of Oman in January 2021 reportedly confirmed the ministerial decision 23/2021 to ban single-use plastic shopping bags.

Consequently, the country banned shopping plastic bags starting 1 January 2021 and imposed an administrative fine between OMR100 (US$259) and OMR2,000 (US$5195) on violators.

The country joins India and UAE which have also imposed a ban on single-use plastics and ventured into alternatives.

In July this year, India imposed a ban on the production, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic items across the country.

The guidelines provided a framework to boost the circular economy of plastic packaging waste and promote the development of new alternatives to plastic packaging.

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