ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Sulaimani District authorities recently formed a committee to enforce a ban on plastic bags and replace them with paper ones for bakeries across the district, a move which has sparked concerns among local businesses.
Nearly two years ago, the mayor of Sulaimani District imposed the regulation on bakeries across the city as health concerns grew over the use of plastic bags. Since then, budgetary constraints hampered putting the measure into effect.
However, with the finances of the Kurdistan Region recovering, Sulaimani’s municipality was able to fund enacting the ban. The body announced in a statement late April “the formation of a committee” that would facilitate using “paper bags instead of nylon” in various bakeries across the city.
The decree named five municipality officials as the commissioners who would enforce the regulation. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) controls the price of locally produced bread, also known as Naan, as well as buns.
Amid rising prices of production of bread and the added cost of paper bags, bakers are now concerned about the future of their businesses. While many acknowledge the health risks associated with the use of plastic bags, they fear reduced profit prospects as the costs of production would only increase following the new rule, despite the price of their product unchanged.
“We were using paper bags before, and there was much demand for it as it was less [hazardous] to people’s health,” one bakery owner told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday. “We hope the manufacturers of these bags reduce their prices as, now, flour has become more expensive as well as tools used to make bread.”
Health officials have said that storing warm bread in plastic bags leads to its chemical compounds dissolving into the food item, possibly causing health problems and, experts claim, could be cancerous.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Reporting by Dalya Kamal from Sulaimani)