CEA-Po­lice raids on poly­eth­yl­ene fac­to­ries to en­sure com­pli­ance

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS - By Chris­han­thi Christopher

Ini­tially, the raids will only be on poly­eth­yl­ene bags of less than 20 mi­crons and on poly­thene lunch sheets. With time, other prod­ucts in­clud­ing poly­styrene and rigi­foam will be checked. Pro­hi­bi­tion of burn­ing poly­thene and plas­tic in the open will also be in force.

The Cen­tral En­vi­ron­ment Author­ity (CEA) will start raids on the poly­thene in­dus­try to en­sure com­pli­ance on its man­u­fac­ture, as per gov­ern­ment spec­i­fi­ca­tions, this week.

Ini­tially, the raids will be on large scale man­u­fac­tur­ers of poly­thene, to im­ple­ment the gazette no­ti­fi­ca­tion of Septem­ber 2017.

The direc­tive was for all poly­thene man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce Low Den­sity Poly­eth­yl­ene (LDPE) bags of 20-mi­crons or above gauge, and also to re­frain from the man­u­fac­ture of lunch sheets that are pos­ing se­ri­ous prob­lems in their dis­posal.

Solid Waste Man­age­ment Di­rec­tor Gen­eral J.M.U. In­draratne said teams will be sent to poly­thene man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries to en­sure com­pli­ance.

"We will start with the big man­u­fac­tur­ers and scale down to medium and small in­dus­tries," he said.

Around 600 CEA staff, along with trained En­vi­ron­ment Po­lice Of­fi­cers who will be present at the raids, will be de­ployed across the coun­try. Work­shops and train­ing pro­grammes were con­ducted for the CEA staff and the en­vi­ron­men­tal po­lice per­son­nel in this re­gard.

Ran­dom sam­ples from pro­duc­tion lines will be checked and sus­pi­cious spec­i­mens sent for lab­o­ra­tory test­ing.

As most in­dus­tries are based in the Western Prov­ince the ma­jor fo­cus will be on Colombo and its suburbs, in co- or­di­na­tion with the re­spec­tive District Sec­re­taries and Pradeshiya Sab­has.

In­dus­tries fail­ing to meet re­quire­ments will be charged un­der the 23W of Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Act No. 47 of 1980 gazette no­ti­fi­ca­tion 1466/5, and shut down.

Vi­o­la­tors will be fined Rs.10,000 or, 2 years im­pris­on­ment or, both, as the case requires.

Two weeks prior to the gazette no­ti­fi­ca­tion, the CEA had called on all the in­dus­tries to regis­ter for the Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Li­cences that would fa­cil­i­tate the fu­ture ac­tiv­i­ties of the in­dus­try.

Ini­tially, the raids will only be on poly­eth­yl­ene bags of less than 20 mi­crons and on poly­thene lunch sheets. With time, other prod­ucts in­clud­ing poly­styrene and rigi­foam will be checked. Pro­hi­bi­tion of burn­ing poly­thene and plas­tic in the open will also be in force.

He said there are plans to dis­cour­age in­dus­tries from man­u­fac­tur­ing LDPE prod­ucts as they are non bio-degrad­able. In the rel­e­vant gazette no­ti­fi­ca­tion, Poly­thene in­cludes high and low den­sity and polypropy­lene.

The Poly­thene Man­u­fac­tur­ing & Re­cy­clers As­so­ci­a­tion (PMRA), which has around 100 reg­is­tered mem­bers, said the man­u­fac­tur­ers are ready for the change.

PMRA Pres­i­dent Anura Wi­jer­atne said the in­dus­tries have made the nec­es­sary changes to the ma­chines and are also plan­ning on the pro­duc­tion of com­postable lunch sheets.

He said the CEA had given time till year end to fin­ish the old stock. "We have a lit­tle more left and should be rid of it dur­ing this month," he said.

An es­ti­mated 1,000 in­dus­tries are into poly­thene man­u­fac­ture.

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