Egypt's cabinet reviewed during its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli on Wednesday the executive measures taken by the Ministry of Environment to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags and the ministry's plan for the coming six months.
Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad said that the first phase of the plan was launched in 2017 through 2018 in conjunction with the national initiative to reduce plastic bags consumption.
A study has been conducted on the plastic system in Egypt, Fouad said, adding that it reveals that about 2.2 million tons of various kinds of plastics are used annually, with a 28 percent of their total amounts are locally manufactured.
'Consultative meetings have been held with all bodies concerned and public awareness campaigns have been launched' , Fouad said.
'The second phase of the initiative which was launched in July and is set to run until December, 2019, is backed by the Red Sea governorate and includes the distribution of environment-friendly 10,000 bags while the third phase will be launched as of January and will run until March', the minister added.
Last April, Egypt’s Red Sea governorate of Hurghada became the first Egyptian governorate to ban single-use or disposable plastics.
The environment ministry launched an EU-funded initiative called “Enough Plastic Bags” in 2017, to eliminate the country’s dependency on plastic bags, due to their negative effects on the environment and the economy.
Egypt’s waste output is 16.2 million tons annually, of which plastic represents six percent, according to the Egyptian Plastic Technology Centre, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Many other African counties have launched similar initiatives to end plastic bag usage; Rwanda imposed a complete ban on thin plastic bags in 2008, complete with stiff fines and even jail sentences for those caught violating the law.