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Environmentalists welcome plastic-to-paper transition in Aqaba bakeries

By Rana Tayseer - May 28,2023 - Last updated at May 28,2023

Representative image (Photo courtesy of unsplash)

AMMAN — The Jordan Environment Union (JEU) on Sunday welcomed a campaign among bakeries in Aqaba which have shifted to paper bags instead of plastic bags. 

The Deputy Commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Hamzeh Al Hajj Hasan, announced the transition to paper bags in a recent statement.

The campaign aims to reduce the use of plastic bags, which pollute the environment, Hajj Hasan said.

About 3,000 paper bags were distributed free of charge to bakeries in the city of Aqaba to encourage their use in bread sales, according to the statement.

There is also a mechanism in place for distributing reusable cloth bags to all shops in the governorate in order to preserve the cleanliness of the environment and the health and safety of citizens, Hajj Hasan added.

“The best area in which the decision to ban the use of plastic bags can be implemented is the Aqaba Economic Zone Authority, as it is a region that enjoys its own legislation and an independent, decentralised administrative system that makes it easier for the competent authorities to implement the decision,” JEU President Omar Shoshan told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

The decision must be applied to all commercial sectors in the Aqaba region, as it has a direct impact on the environment, public health and the preservation of the area’s aesthetic value “as a tourist area par excellence”, Shoshan said.

The volume of plastic waste is highest on the sea floor, and is a major source of pollution for marine life in the Gulf of Aqaba. Plastic pollution has a severe impact on marine life, especially the Gulf’s highly sensitive coral reefs, he said.

The level of sea floor pollution was confirmed by volunteer and official campaigns to collect waste from the sea. The pollution also negatively affects the sea’s economic value, as it deters tourists interested in diving and viewing the area’s distinctive coral reefs, Shoshan added.

The JEU president called for more efforts to expand the initiative and ensure its sustainability.

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