More than two weeks after a second deadline banning the use of plastic bags for packing hot food ended, some varities of baked food, especially khubz, the most popular Arabic bread still come packed in ordinary plastic bags.
Officials of the Ministry of Environment, that imposed the ban are silent on which is a clear violation of the law, while several bakery owners say that it is impossible to implement the ban in the absence of viable alternatives.
Most bakeries continue to supply hot bread in thin plastic bags, disregarding the health hazards that apparently prompted the Ministry to impose the ban.
The Ministry had set a March 1 deadline to enforce the ban.
“We can feel the heat of fresh khubz wrapped in plastic bags and see moisture collected inside the bags. If this is not good for health, why does the Ministry hesitate to strictly implement the ban?,” wondered a citizen.
Bakery owners, meanwhile, say that the Ministry has not proposed viable alternatives for plastic bags and paper bags are no solution.
“One packet of khubz costs just QR1. Only the flour is subsidised and we have to bear the cost of sugar and other ingredients, besides the labour costs. It would be better to stop making the bread than opting for the expensive paper bags,” said a bakery owner, seeking anonymity.
He said the Ministry had permitted to use a special type of plastic bag certified by the Qatar Petroleum for packing hot bread and some bakeries have already started using it.
However, most bakeries still rely on the ordinary plastic bags and the authorities have not started any action against them, it is learnt.
“The issue is mainly with Khubz, since most customers want it to be served hot. There is a specific standard for the length of the conveyer belt used in packing this bread. This helps take much of the heat out before the bread goes into the packet,” said a baker. The Joint Food Monitoring Committee that set the new deadline has also banned plates and cups made of plastic and foam for serving hot meals and beverages, unless they are internationally certified and are capable of resisting high temperature.
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