Earlier this week, we discussed the viral epidemic that is marine plastic pollution. In conclusion, we stressed our responsibility, as human beings, to research how we can reduce plastic pollution to protect not only us, but also many future generations. And it seems our prayers have been answered as the Egyptian parliament just proposed a ban on single-use plastics in Egypt.
Last Monday, Member of Parliament (MP), Anisa Hassouna, submitted a proposal for the ban of single-use plastic bags to the Cabinet, along with the ministries of Foreign Trade, Environment, and Industry, according to Egypt Independent. In her official request, Hassouna proposed replacing the toxic material with more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as paper. She explained how plastic can take of hundreds of years to decompose, how it can poison the air when it is burned, and how it can affect our health when mixed with various food substances. The true shocker was her reveal of the horrific fact that Egypt consumes 12 billion plastic bags annually, costing around 12 billion EGP. So, not only are we destroying the environment, but we are also depleting the country’s treasury. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
These shocking statistics pushed us to want to know more. According to an article by Egypt Today from last year, our country produces approximately 970,000 tons of plastic waste, of which 45 per cent is recycled and only five per cent reused! Nagwa El Maanawy, head of the Egyptian Plastic Technology Center, added that 50 per cent of plastic garbage is not sorted, and instead incinerated.
On a more positive note, this isn’t the first time our government has taken firm action, regarding plastic pollution. Just a few months ago, Egypt’s Red Sea governorate also decided to ban single-use and all disposable plastics, starting from June, turning it into a “Go Green” land, to protect wildlife, marine life, and endangered species, all of which have been harmed and negatively affected by plastic. The decree bans the use of plastic bags in food shops, restaurants, supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as plastic knives and forks, cups, and straws in restaurants and on cruise ships within the governorate, with the exception of heavy duty garbage collection bags.
We’ll leave you with a final reminder. If Mo Salah can stand up for ending plastic pollution, then so can we!