Oman to ban single-use plastic bags from next year; violators to face up to $5k fines

A man leaves with his goods in a plastic carrier bag after shopping at a branch of Tesco in south London, on January 9, 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 16 March 2020

Oman to ban single-use plastic bags from next year; violators to face up to $5k fines

  • “Plastic bags are often ingested by turtles and dolphins who mistake them for food,” the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned

MUSCAT: Oman will ban single-use plastic bags starting next year as part of efforts to reduce pollution and protect the environment, Muscat announced on Sunday.
Located in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman stands out among its Gulf neighbors for its exceptional natural mountainous landscapes and rich marine life.
“Companies and establishments are prohibited from using single-use plastic bags with the aim to protect the Omani environment,” the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs said in a statement.
It warned that violators would face fines of up to 2,000 Omani rials ($5,197) when the ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021, with repeat offenders “getting fined double the amount.”

Companies and establishments are prohibited from using single-use plastic bags with the aim to protect the Omani environment.

Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs

According to the UN, Oman — which had become renowned as a travel destination for its desert camping and turtle-watching — attracted 2.3 million tourists in 2018.
“Plastic bags are often ingested by turtles and dolphins who mistake them for food,” the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned.
“High concentrations of plastic materials, particularly plastic bags, have been found blocking the airways and stomachs of hundreds of species.”
A number of countries, including recently the UAE, have taken measures to curb single-use plastic bags.
Last week, Abu Dhabi announced it aims to ban their use in the UAE capital by 2021.


India to invest $1.46 trillion to lift virus-hit economy

Updated 15 August 2020

India to invest $1.46 trillion to lift virus-hit economy

  • Modi announced a national digital heath plan under which every Indian will get an identity card containing all health-related information
  • Modi said the government has identified 7,000 infrastructure projects to offset the economic impact of the pandemic
NEW DELHI: India’s prime minister said Saturday his country has done well in containing the coronavirus pandemic and announced $1.46 trillion infrastructure projects to boost the sagging economy.
The key lesson India learnt from the pandemic is to become self-reliant in manufacturing and developing itself as a key supply chain destination for international companies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
“The coronavirus epidemic is a big crisis, but it can’t stall India’s economic progress,’’ Modi said in a speech from New Delhi’s 17th century Mughal-era Red Fort to mark 74 years of the country’s independence from British rule. He wore an orange and white turban with a long scarf around his neck.
He also said that three vaccines are in different phases of testing in India and it will start mass production as soon as it got a green light from scientists. “Detailed plans are in place for large-scale production of corona vaccine and making it available to every Indian,” he said.
India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain’s this week to become the fourth-highest in the world as the country reported over 2.5 million confirmed cases, just behind the US and Brazil.
Modi also announced a national digital heath plan under which every Indian will get an identity card containing all health-related information.
The celebrations were curtailed on Saturday because of the pandemic, with invitations going only to 4,000 guests instead of normal 20,000, media reports said.
The International Monetary Fund projected a contraction of 4.5 percent for the Indian economy in 2020, a “historic low,” but said the country is expected to bounce back in 2021.
Modi said the government has identified 7,000 infrastructure projects to offset the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Infrastructure will not be created in silos anymore. All infrastructure has to be comprehensive, integrated and linked to each other. Multi-modal connectivity infrastructure is the way forward,” he said.
He said that India saw a record 18 percent jump in foreign direct investment in the past year, a signal that the international companies are looking at the country.
Modi didn’t refer to China directly, but India is trying to capitalize on its rival’s rising production costs and deteriorating ties with the United States and European nations to become a replacement home for large multinationals.
Referring to border tensions with China in the Ladakh area, he said Indian forces had given a befitting response in the mountainous region where thousands of soldiers from the two countries remain in a tense standoff since May. India said 20 of its troops died in hand combat with Chinese troops on June 15.
“Whether it’s terrorism or expansionism, India is fighting the challenges bravely,” Modi said in apparent references to threats from neighboring Pakistan and China.