New draft law to be presented to ban all plastic bags in Erbil province: official
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The KRG Board of Environmental Protection and Improvement will soon present a bill to the Council of Ministers advocating for a ban on all plastic bags in Erbil, Lawk Ghafuri, the Head of Foreign Media Relations of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Council of Ministers, tweeted on Friday.
The KRG Board of Environmental Protection and Improvement will soon present a draft to the Council of Ministers to ban all plastic bags in Erbil province and replace them with paper bags to prevent pollution. #PlasticPollution— Lawk Ghafuri (@LawkGhafuri) April 15, 2022
He added that the draft law will suggest replacing plastic bags “with paper bags to prevent pollution.”
Galawezh Bayiz, Executive Director of Eco-vital, a Kurdish environmental NGO based in the Kurdish capital, told Kurdistan 24 that they are “very excited that the KRG government is taking bold action on plastic pollution.”
In February, Eco-vital distributed a million paper bags to the city’s bakeries to combat plastic waste.
“From our part, the UNDP/ EU funded Eliminating Plastic in Erbil City (EPEC) project which started from July 2021 till May 2022, aimed at presenting a policy document requesting a ban on plastic bag use at bakeries in Erbil city. This initiative complements both Iraqi and KRG environmental protection and enhancement policies.”
Meanwhile a concerted effort by @Eco_Vital_NGO supported by #UNDP #EU and #KRG environment Committee and Board to ban plastic bags at bakeries is a positive step towards sustainble living in Kurdistan. Plastic bags cause harm to health & the environment+less cost for bakeries. https://t.co/TmHyT6be8Z— Galawezh.Bayiz (@GBO20171) April 15, 2022
“Even though Eco-Vital, through a supplier, printed one million paper bags and distributed them to 500 bakeries, the aim was not to encourage or enforce paper bag use at bakeries for storage of bread, but rather to ban placing plastic bags at bakeries, full stop, so the public can take their own bags with them,” she added.
She says the bakery syndicate is very much in favor of banning plastic bags at bakeries because it means reduced costs. “On average bakeries spend 30-50,000 IQD on plastic bag purchases. So it is a win-win for bakeries, people, and the planet's health,” she added.
“The Environment Board and the KRG Parliament Committee for Environment, Health and Consumer Affairs, as well as the Trade Monitoring Directorate and the Ministry of Health, are all in support of this initiative, and will soon sign EPEC's cooperation agreement (policy document) marking the end of our advocacy effort in the EPEC project,” she stated.
She said they hope the ban comes into effect as soon as possible. “It is important that the government informs the public before implementing the ban. Meanwhile, we will continue following up with all stakeholders until the ban is implemented.”
“As a non-governmental organization, Eco-Vital will continue its efforts to propose community-based solutions to tackle plastic pollution as well as other environmental initiatives.”