Lanka bans single-use plastics

Sri Lanka will ban single-use plastics, the government said yesterday, in a move that follows a series of wild elephant and deer deaths from plastic poisoning. Cabinet spokesman and media minister Bandula Gunawardana said the manufacture or sale of plastic cutlery, cocktail shakers and artificial flowers will be prohibited from June. The move was recommended by a panel appointed 18 months ago to study the impact of plastic waste on the environment and wildlife. Non-biodegradable plastic bags were banned in 2017 due to concerns over flash floods. And imports of plastic cutlery, food wrappers and toys were banned two years ago after a spate of deaths of elephants and deer in the island's northeast after foraging at open garbage tips. Autopsies showed the animals had died after eating plastics mixed with food waste. But local manufacture and sale of plastic products continued. Sri Lanka's top authority on Asian elephants, Jayantha Jayewardene, welcomed the move to stop them.