Muscat: Shoppers in the Sultanate may soon be able to help save the environment one plastic bag at a time, thanks to a buyback scheme that is being discussed in the Shura Council.
Suggested by Council member Mohammed Al Badi, the scheme proposes that a small sum will be added to the price of plastic bags or bottles during purchasing then, once these items are returned to the shop, the sum will be refunded. The proposal is set to be discussed during the Shura Council sittings on June 25 and 26.
Ahmed Al Hadhrami, Vice Chairman of Health and Environment Committee at Shura Council spoke to Times of Oman about the scheme.
“The proposal specifies a simple amount of insurance paid by the consumer when using plastic bags or bottles. The same amount will be returned to the consumer when they bring back the plastic items.
“This seeks to reduce the consumption of plastic materials and push consumers to cut back on their use of plastic and look for other alternatives,” Al Hadhrami said.
The scheme will be presented to the members of the Shura Council to discuss how it could be implemented.
“We will look at the proposal in terms of who will bear the costs of insurance - whether the consumer or the companies producing the bags - and who will process the recycling of these products after the consumer returns them,” added Al Hadhrami.
If the Shura members adopt the proposal it will be submitted to the Council of Ministers.
A manager of a supermarket chain told the Times of Oman that around 75,000 to 80,000 plastic bags are given away each day at his branch, and according to Oman’s environment watchdog, millions are used and thrown away each week.
Many countries in the world have restricted the use of plastic bags and imposed additional taxes on their purchase.
Other suggestions by individual Shura Council members which will be discussed during the two sessions include a proposal to make it mandatory for couples to undergo hereditary health check-ups before marriage, Masirah Island bridge, and a project to organise the burial sites in the Sultanate.