Imports of non-dissolvable plastic products prohibited; soon to be banned from use

Jeddah, Jul 11 (Arab News): Saudi Arabia on Sunday started barring the entry of non-dissolvable plastic products, executing a decision that will be followed by banning the manufacture, use and trade of such products by October.
Non-dissolvable plastics can remain without change for hundreds of years, posing a threat to animals. When swallowed, it tangles with animals’ intestines and eventually kills them, and causes public health problems due to the difficulty of recycling such materials.

Tamis Al-Hammadi, spokesman for the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) was quoted by Al-Hayat newspaper as saying the ban will be imposed on 16 plastic products that are made of polypropylene and polyethylene and are less than 250-microns thick, such as shopping bags and electronics packaging. Products used medically and in food manufacturing will be exempt.

The SASO spokesman said the use of plastic bags in the Kingdom “greatly” surpasses international rates.

He said discarded plastic bags have killed many horses, gazells and rare birds and fish; they also kill plants and prevent rainwater from reaching the deeper layers of the soil, which contributes to increase desertification rate.

Al-Hammadi said that the technology to make the products organically dissolvable requires adding certain substances in the manufacturing process, which would require only a low additional cost for the factory and would not necessitate a complete change in the production process.