The government has banned polythene bags in Kathmandu effective from Monday.

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has been issuing official notices at public places and also through print and broadcast media to all people urging them to discard plastic bags, said Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of KMC Environment Division.

The ban aims at encouraging the use of environment-friendly bags made from paper and fabrics.

Authorities have said anyone knowingly or wantonly violating the new directive would be brought to justice.

“We were thinking of banning plastic bags when KMC came up with Kathmandu Clean Campaign in April,” Shrestha said. Only bio-degradable plastics can be used for packing or for other purposes, he said.

According to Shrestha, the anti-polythene campaign in the first phase will be targeted at raising awareness for five months and those flouting the law have to pay penalty from October.

Metropolitan authorities in coordination with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) have initiated the plastic-free Kathmandu city campaign for the first time after the MoE in April introduced a national work plan that best suits local bodies.

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