Muscat: Supermarkets and consumers have handled the ban on single-use plastic bags effective from yesterday in Oman quite smoothly. Many stores had already put in place an effective phase-out of plastic bags more than a couple of months ago.
Ammujam Ravindran, a staunch proponent of environment-friendly measures and the founding member of the growing Save Oman’s Beaches group, has been campaigning for plastic-ban since a very long time. “Relentless action will surely bring in the results. The change we are seeing now is a good example of this fact. Every week, when we clear the beaches off mounds of plastic in every form, we think of those birds and sea-animals that cannot differentiate plastic and end up with these inside their body. This will bring a lot of positive changes in the environment.”
Avaantica Ashok, a sustainability stickler, who had banned plastic at home and also among her friends’ circle says that the awareness level among people on plastic substitutes and the long-term benefits need to be sustained. “Bottling or bagging your own grains, or buying milk in a glass bottle need to arrive close on the heels of this development. It feels great that Oman is in the world map of plastic reduction.”
Currently, vegetables are allowed to be packed in plastic bags as it offers a sanitized option than anything else, while weighing and billing. But the rest of the items bought in supermarkets, need to be bagged in reusable bags brought from home. Such bags are also available to be purchased in most of the outlets.
Ameera Al Balushi, a student of College of Banking and Finance says she is part of a cooperative group consisting of Omani women who are good in making cloth bags. “COVID-19 also opened up some business ideas for us, as we started making reusable face masks, and now bags. We sell our stuff to those who already have online business accounts and also to our friends and families.”
Sidab Women, another social initiative setup, consisting of talented women who specialize in making handcrafted items, have also come up with a range of colorful reusable grocery bags.