On Friday December 1st, 2017, H. E. Dr. Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment, visited 4 hypermarket chains to kick off the packing in biodegradable plastic bags. The event marked the conclusion of the first phase of the National Initiative of Reduction of Plastic Bags and the first popular activity throughout the six past months.
The initiative, which unprecedentedly supplied its partner hypermarkets with 4.5 tons of biodegradable pure plastic bags devoid of any filler, showcased the importance of using biodegradable bags versus single use non-degradable plastic bags. The visit aimed at closely monitoring and overseeing the shopping and packing in the initiative branded bags, and promoting an environment-friendly alternative.
Driven by sheer environmental and social responsibility, 72 branches in Cairo and 1 in Alexandria participated to the event, namely; Metro, Carrefour, HyperOne, Ragab Sons, Kheir Zaman, Fathalla Market & Al Raya Market. In response to the initiative’s approach, hypermarkets earlier showed willingness to join the initiative call and were keen to sign an MOU. The win-win agreement, presently being put into action, listed aspects of cooperation and defined each party’s commitments.
The dissemination event was attended by a large number of media representatives, CEDARE, and the ministry’s top management and executives. The minister interviewed customers and retailers and positively received a promising feedback whether from customers or chains personnel.
H.E. Dr. Fahmy highlighted the hazards of plastic bags currently used and stressed that the initiative’s ultimate goal is the shift to biodegradable, paper, or multi use bags according to the nature of commercial activity. “Aligning with the widely adopted green economy policies and sustainable consumption and production practices, particularly banning non-degradable plastic bags, Egypt has to take a firm stance against hazardous single use non-degradable plastic bags and dramatically decrease consumption as an initial step until massively achieving the shift to a sound sustainable alternative”, stated Dr. Fahmy.
Dr. Hossam Allam, Manager of Sustainable Growth Programme, CEDARE, explained that “Egypt consumes around 12 billion plastic bags annually, which vastly affects humans’ health as well as animal and marine life. In short, it is economically and environmentally disastrous”.
Needless to say that such non-degradable plastic bags are a real threat to human health, fish & marine life, coral reefs, diving and environmental tourism, water drains, desert animals and more. “We are really impressed by consumers’ feedback and more importantly proud to be partnering with largest hypermarkets whereby we become more influential in changing Egyptians’ behavior decreasing the current consumption rate as a start, and improving consumers’ attitude towards resources.”, said Dr. Allam. The initiative is an imbodiment of collaboration between the Egyptian government and international and regional organizations as the United Nations Environment Programme and the SwitchMed Regional Programme, funded by the European Commission.
Watch video: https://youtu.be/NXFXjfAcBPU