The Ministry of Environment yesterday praised local supermarkets and shopping centres for reducing plastic bag usage following legislation passed last year that requires them to charge customers for plastic bags.
Dy Kyden, director of the Solid Waste Management Department, said authorities were pleased with commercial retailers’ compliance with the sub-decree, which they said has led to a drop in plastic bag usage.
“All the supermarkets have cooperated in implementing the sub-decree. We observed a remarkable decline in plastic bag usage as a result,” Mr Kyden said, although he was unable to provide concrete figures regarding the alleged drop in the use of plastic bags.
He said ministry officers have been visiting malls and supermarkets to verify if they were complying with the sub-decree.
In contrast with the compliance shown by commercial retailers, Mr Kayden said the order was not followed by small vendors working in traditional market across the nation.
“We observed that traditional markets did not apply these measures. We are not able to enforce it in the markets. As they are small retail vendors, we depend on their voluntary cooperation,” he said.
Lucky Supermarket and the two Aeon Malls now charge 1 cent (400 riel) for a plastic bag.
In October, the government, at the request of the Ministry of Environment, issued the sub-decree on the management of plastic bags.
The sub-decree, which contains 32 articles, strongly urges citizens to reduce the use of plastic bags and reuse them to protect public health and the environment.
The ministry also set out measures to restrict imports of plastic bags, charge those who use them, and encourage people to switch to reusable alternatives.