Oman


Customers demand smaller plastic bags at Oman's supermarkets


In almost all of the supermarkets, only big-size plastic bags are available on the roll. Photo - Jun Estrada/Times of Oman

Muscat: Customers have urged authorities to review the use of plastic bags in Oman supermarkets, saying that waste generation can be easily reduced if plastic bags of different size are placed at the grocery section of shopping centres.

Campaign for recycling of waste is already under way, but shoppers believe that focus should be more on preventing wasteful use of plastic bags in the first place.

In almost all of the supermarkets, big or small, only one size of plastic bags, that too big, are available on the roll, and customers have to put each type of fruit or vegetable separately so that these can be weighed and price tagged.

"I do not really like it. Sometimes I just want to buy a few things, such as two cucumbers, but I have to put these in a big plastic bag," Victoria Gilchrist, a British national, told the Times of Oman at one of the super markets.

Gilchrist said that she carries her own bag while going shopping, so that she is not forced to use too many plastic bags but cannot avoid using some when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

There must be another way, she said, adding that it will be good if the items in small amounts can be weighed without having to be put in separate plastic bags.

These can then be put in a single plastic bag, Gilchrist said.

She also said that she supports the idea of adding small and medium-sized plastic bags at the grocery section.  

Jeanne from New Zealand also complained about the non-availability of smaller plastic bags at supermarkets.  

"Not everybody has big families. I just shop for myself and my husband," she said, while picking up fruits at a super market.Suppliers

Majid Abdullah, receiving and warehouse manager at the Qurum branch of Carrefour, said that it is a good idea to have plastic bags of different sizes at the grocery section. "It is a good idea. We will talk to suppliers and see if they can provide us with those," he told the Times of Oman.

While shopping at another super market, Grioharan said that a system should be developed for weighing mixed items.

The problem is there in all the shopping centres and is an issue for many people, especially bachelors who usually buy things in small quantities, he said.

Hitesh Joshi, who was shopping at a small supermarket, said it would be a good idea if fruits and vegetables are weighed separately and then put in one plastic bag with one price tag on it.

Ramesh said he has the same problem at supermarkets and supported the idea of revising the use of plastic bags in all the supermarkets.

"I arrived in Muscat a few months ago, and the first time I went shopping, I wanted to buy some chillies and found that I had to put them in a large plastic bag. I live alone and want to buy things fresh," said Maryam.

"At the cash counter, I always ask them to put more stuff in a single plastic bag so as to avoid using too many bags but I have no option at the grocery section," she added.

To get in touch with the reporter elham@timesofoman.com

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It is high time that the customers should pay for plastic bags. The same has been implemented in Mumbai with positive results. The money generated can be used for environmental purposes by the govt. Oman is such a beautiful country and great care needs to be taken to preserve its beauty. The people need to take small extra efforts to carry reusable bags. This could also promote the industry producing eco-friendly reusable bags and help providing jobs to the local population.




Its a real waste and damage to the environment for sure this has been happening from long I am seeing it from the past 30 years of my stay in Oman and I think the best way to control this is by charging a fee for environment safe bags which is done in some countries. In fact many take some plastic bags and use them as trash bags at home.