Muscat: Reusable shopping bags that must now be used to carry groceries following the single-use plastic bag ban from 1 January onwards are available at affordable prices, Oman’s Consumer Protection Authority (CPA has said). The CPA will be conducting regular checks over sales of reusable bags in shops, to make sure businesses don’t profit off customers by increasing their prices.
“Based on the decision banning the use of single-use plastic bags issued by the Environment Authority, which began this implementation from January 1, we want to inform the consumers that environment-friendly bags are available in the local markets at nominal prices,” said a CPA statement. The CPA asked shopkeepers to ensure bags were sold at fair prices, in addition to requesting them to follow all of the rules regarding their use and sale.
The Environment Authority has also said that enough reusable bags will be made available to customers who visit supermarkets, shopping centres and other businesses in the country.
“Alternatives of various types are available in the local market,” said the government body. “These include cloth bags, paper and reusable plastic bags, and there is ongoing coordination with all partners to provide alternatives to ensure these are inexpensive purchases for the consumer. The decision to ban plastic bags includes only single-use ones used for shopping.”
The decision to ban single-use plastic bags to protect the country’s environment was made under Royal Decree No. 23/2020.
Among the problems posed by these bags are animals dying after choking on them, preventing sunlight from reaching the roots of trees, thereby stunting their growth, and the leeching of their chemicals into the environment over the long-term.
Female workers who make plastic bags handle chemicals that increase their chances of miscarriage, while similarly lowering testosterone levels in males.