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Govt. to ban liquor in quarter bottles unless manufacturers get their act together

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Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera on Tuesday vowed to ban liquor being sold in 180 ml (quarter) bottles considering the damage they inflicted on the environment.

Minister Amaraweera addressing officials of the Central Environmental Authority when he visited the CEA office in Battaramulla, after assuming duties, said the liquor companies sold liquor in 180 ml bottles made of glass or plastic. The consumers discarded them haphazardly after use. “The liquor companies do not collect them. They should be banned or the companies should collect those bottles for reuse or recycling. We can introduce a high tax under the polluter-pays-principle so that the companies will not get a profit by selling them.” Minister Amaraweera said that environment authorities and municipal cleaning agencies had pointed out that the need to introduce a new system to minimise environmental pollution caused by the discarded empty liquor bottles.

As per the available records over 300 million quarter liquor bottles had been purchased in 2019 from liquor shops, the minister said.

We should introduce a new system that encourages liquor consumers to return empty bottles instead of discarding them on the roadside.

As the first step under the new system, the liquor companies would be requested to provide a refund for every empty 180 ml alcohol bottle returned to any liquor outlet.

In addition to the quarter liquor bottles, the sachets containing shampoo, sauce and other products and small plastic bottles containing some products such as liquid blue used on white cloths too have become a threat to environment because the consumers discard them in a haphazard manner.

Secretary to the Ministry Dr. Anil Jasinghe was also present.



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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