Sri Lanka bans single-use plastics to save elephants


Elephants coming to garbage pits to eat in Kaduruwela, Sri Lanka, on 13 February 2023.

Thilina Kaluthotage/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • Sri Lanka will ban the sale and production of some single-use plastics. 
  • This is in an effort to curb deaths of wild elephants and deer. 
  • The animals have been dying from poisoning after ingesting plastic.

Sri Lanka will ban single-use plastics, the government said on Tuesday, in a move that follows a series of wild elephant and deer deaths from plastic poisoning.

Cabinet spokesman and media minister Bandula Gunawardana said the manufacture or sale of plastic cutlery, cocktail shakers and artificial flowers will be prohibited from June.

The move was recommended by a panel appointed 18 months ago to study the impact of plastic waste on the environment and wildlife.

Non-biodegradable plastic bags were banned in 2017 due to concerns over flash floods.

Imports of plastic cutlery, food wrappers and toys were banned two years ago after a spate of deaths of elephants and deer in the island’s northeast after foraging at open garbage bins.

READ | Australia rejects first coal mine under environmental law

Autopsies showed the animals had died after eating plastics mixed with food waste.

But local manufacture and sale of plastic products continued.

Sri Lanka’s top authority on Asian elephants, Jayantha Jayewardene, welcomed the move to stop them, but told AFP the ban should be extended to biodegradable plastic bags.

He said:

These bags are getting into the food chain of elephants and wildlife and that is not a good thing.

Elephants are considered sacred and protected by law in Sri Lanka, but about 400 die a year as a result of human-elephant conflict near wildlife reserves, as do around 50 people.

Shrinking habitat has led to jumbos raiding villages looking for food and many suffer agonising deaths after foraging for food at dumps filled with plastic waste.

Dozens of wild deer died from plastic poisoning in the northeastern district of Trincomalee about five years ago, prompting the government to ban the open dumping of garbage near jungle reserves.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred

In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won’t be billed. 

Related Posts

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) logo  at the entrance to its headquarters in Moscow, in December 2023. (Photo by Natalia KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)

Russian loses appeal against Olympic ban because of its Ukraine invasion

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) logo at the entrance to its headquarters in Moscow, in December 2023. (Photo by Natalia KOLESNIKOVA / AFP) The Court of…

Firetrucks are parked next to the residential block ravaged by a huge fire that killed at least four people, in Valenci. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)

Four dead, 19 missing as fire guts polyurethane-clad Spanish apartment block

Firetrucks are parked next to the residential block ravaged by a huge fire that killed at least four people, in Valenci. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN /…

A handout picture released by the National Crime Agency (NCA) on 22 February 2024 shows packages of cocaine seized at the harbour of Southampton, southern England, announced the Organised Crime Agency (NCA). On 8 February 2024, British police made a record seizure of 5.7 tonnes of cocaine in a container in the port of Southampton. The cocaine, with a street value of more than £450 million according to UK market prices, was concealed in a cargo of bananas from South America. NCA investigators believe that the final destination of the goods was the German port of Hamburg.

UK authorities seize ‘biggest ever’ cocaine shipment worth £450m

A handout picture released by the National Crime Agency (NCA) on 22 February 2024 shows packages of cocaine seized at the harbour of Southampton, southern England,…

Bobi, in February 2023, in front of his birth place at his home in the village of Conqueiros in Leiria. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

Guinness World Records yanks Bobi’s title as world’s oldest dog

Bobi, in February 2023, in front of his birth place at his home in the village of Conqueiros in Leiria. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA…

US President Joe Biden at an event in Culver City, California, on 21 February 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)

‘Crazy SOB’: Joe Biden is calling Vladimir Putin names to look like a cowboy, Kremlin says

US President Joe Biden at an event in Culver City, California, on 21 February 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) Joe Biden is trying to…

The collapsed section of the Lixinsha bridge over a waterway in Guangzhou, in southern China's Guangdong province on 22 February. A cargo ship struck the bridge, causing cars to plummet into the water.  (Photo by CNS / AFP)

Two killed after ship hits bridge near China’s Guangzhou, plunging cars in the water

The collapsed section of the Lixinsha bridge over a waterway in Guangzhou, in southern China’s Guangdong province on 22 February. A cargo ship struck the bridge,…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *