PHNOM PENH: Supermarket shoppers may soon be charged for using plastic bags in Cambodia, as part of government measures to ramp up environment protection and reduce waste.
The sub-decree will also set restrictions on the import of plastic bags and encourage people to switch to reusable alternatives, reported local news outlet Khmer Times on Wednesday (Oct 19).
The measures include the promotion of public engagement programmes to reduce plastic bags use and encouraging the private sector to either recycle the bags or produce them with biodegradable materials.
The sub-decree was issued to tackle rising consumption of plastic bags, said Heng Nareth, director-general of the ministry's environmental protection department.
According to the European Union (EU) and ACRA Foundation, about 10 million plastic bags are used in Phnom Penh daily.
"We also want to encourage the use of natural environments such as paper or leaf instead," Nareth added.
Inter-ministerial officials will meet with supermarket owners to determine pricing, reported Khmer Times.
The additional charges to the use of plastic bags will be implemented throughout the country by 2020.
However, there is skepticism over whether the measure will be enforced at all, reported Phnom Penh Post.
Taing Vitou, director of agriculture NGO Cedac, said he has heard such laws floated before.
“They’re not really effective as there’s no strong punishment and no strong enforcement on it,” Vitou said.