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‘Radical solutions’ needed to combat Jordan’s plastic bag problem, says JEU

By Rana Tayseer - May 10,2023 - Last updated at May 10,2023

Experts are calling on the relevant authorities to find ‘radical solutions’ to replace non-biodegradable plastic bags with environmentally friendly bags (Photo courtesy of Environment Ministry)

AMMAN — Experts are calling on the relevant authorities to find “radical solutions” to replace non-biodegradable plastic bags with environmentally friendly bags.

“The environment ministry should go with a participatory approach, with all entities representing the industrial and commercial sectors, working to find radical solutions because the campaigns do not produce any clear results,” Jordan Environment Union (JEU) President Omar Shoshan told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

The Environment Ministry has the legal authorisation to gather all concerned entities at one table and agree on a matrix of measures to ensure that the manufacture of non-biodegradable bags is limited, Shoshan said.

“We find black plastic bags everywhere; even the Jordanian desert has not been spared,” he added.

“We had a previous experience where the Ministry of Environment and a regional centre carried out the “Our Green Bag” campaign to encourage people to use environmentally friendly bags and reduce the use of bags that are harmful to the environment. We targeted six major commercial centres, and 50,000 cloth bags were distributed to shoppers,” President of the Awraq Association, Zaina Hamdan told The Jordan Times.

An Awraq questionnaire found that people prefer to use plastic bags instead of environmentally friendly bags because of the high initial cost of the environmentally friendly bag. The survey also found that people prefer to use reusable cloth bags for dry materials and not for supermarket items, Hamdan said.

“We need a large national awareness campaign, and part of it should be activating the supervisory role and taking punitive measures on commercial centres that use plastic bags,” she added.

Jordan issued regulations prohibiting the use and production of all black plastic bags in 2017, excluding cases in which black bags are used for waste collection. The regulations also oblige manufacturers to indicate whether or not a plastic bag is biodegradable and has the approval of the Environment Ministry and other relevant authorities with a symbol on the bag.


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