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Mon 27 Oct 2008 06:27 AM

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Oman launches bid to reduce plastic shopping bags

Six-month campaign aims to educate shoppers in bid to help environment.

A pioneering campaign has been launched by the Environmental Society of Oman (ESO), aiming to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic bags used in the Sultanate.

The six-month campaign, endorsed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, aims to educate consumers on the impact plastic bags are having on the environment while providing them with ways to cut down on usage and pollution.

Residents of Oman will be urged to reduce and reuse plastic bags, while opting for reusable jute bags as a primary alternative.

The Minister, Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal al Busaidi, said: “As part of Oman's drive for greater environmental sustainability, we welcome and value today’s launch of ESO’s anti plastic bag campaign.

"We urge everyone in Oman to support this exercise and fully play their part in ensuring the success of the campaign. ESO is undertaking this initiative to generate awareness among the people about the dire need to reduce plastic bags from our life and protect the environment”.

With four to five trillion plastic bags being manufactured worldwide every year, the ESO said the impact is proving catastrophic to the environment and both marine and terrestrial wildlife of Oman.

Sayyida Tania bint Shabib Al Said, of the ESO, said: “We are seeing an increasing number of desert, wadi and sea areas in and around Oman, being polluted by discarded plastic bags.

"Unfortunately, bags are being carried by the wind into these areas and, as a result, many of Oman’s sea birds, marine mammals, turtles and land mammals such as goats, are dying unnecessarily.”

In August, it was announced that business leaders in Dubai are considering plans to phase out the use of polythene and plastic bags in the emirate in an effort to protect the environment.

Plastic bag manufacturers, retail market owners, representatives of recycling plants, waste management experts, municipality executives and ministry officials met to discuss proposals to reduce the use every year until the emirate bans them completely.

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