Human Resources and institutional Development Division (HRID) primarily designs and execute straining programmes to enhance knowledge, develop skills and change attitudes of adults involved in agrarian and rural development activities with a view to improve socio economic standing of the farming community. The clients of HRID training programmes belong to a broad range of higher officials and field officers of government organizations and NGOs involved in the development activities in the rural sector, farmer leaders, representatives at grass root level community based organizations and ordinary farmers. Broadly the division is involved in the following activities:

  • Implementing of HARTI training programmes designed for rural/agrarian development.
  • Designing and conducting training activities within the agrarian sector under the direction of the ministry of agriculture
  • Undertaking outside training programmes on specific subjects.
  • Providing services of experts for the training programmes conducted by the outside agencies.
  • Organizing workshops/seminars based on national priorities
  • Documenting and publishing training reports

The training activities of the Institute are coordinated by this Division. Its staff includes Research and Training officers, Audio Visual Technicians and the other support staff. The expert services of research officers of other divisions are solicited for special training programmes. Apart from the tailor made training programmes scheduled in annual training calendar, HRID also designs training courses to meet the specific needs of clients. The main training areas of HRID are listed below:

  • Adults Training Methodology
  • Social Science Research Methodology
  • Agricultural Marketing and marketing extension
  • Project Planning and Evaluation
  • People mobilization and People centered Agricultural Resource management
  • Participatory Irrigation Management
  • Training of trainers on organizational management, people mobilization, PRA and PCM
  • Farmer Training on organizational management, leadership development, partnership development etc.
   Ongoing Research  

A Study on Possible Eco-Friendly Remedies for Polythene Products and Plastic Waste in Sri Lanka (R-528)


Background of the Study:


Plastic is a very convertible material. Owing to the industrial revolution and its large scale production plastic seemed to be a cheaper and effective raw material. Therefore, every paramount sector of the economy commencing from agriculture to packaging, automobile, electronics, electrical, building construction, communication sectors has been almost transfigured by the applications of plastics. By today as we know, polythene products including polyethylene grocery bags and lunch sheets have become closer to our lives. Convenience, cheapness, easy to carry and availability like reasons have caused to their continued usage. Notwithstanding their innumerable advantages, the threat of plastic bags is troubling. Due to long lasting effect in the environment, polythene leads to environmental pollution, a threat to wildlife, health problems, and unending environmental costs.

Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilogram but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. When looking forward, global waste is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050. There is generally a positive correlation between waste generation and income level. Daily per capita waste generation in high income countries is projected to increase by 19 percent by 2050, compared to low- and middle-income countries where it is anticipated to increase by approximately 40 percent or more. The total quantity of waste generated in low-income countries is expected to increase by more than three times by 2050.According to Hoornweg and Bhada (2012), world cities generate about 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste per year. This volume is expected to increase to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025.Waste generation rates will more than double over the next twenty years in lower income countries. Globally, solid waste management costs will increase from today’s annual $205.4 billion to about $375.5 billion in 2025.These noteworthy complication and concerns have entailed for driven measures by the institution of a ban on plastic bags in many countries worldwide.

Have we ever thought twice about what we release to the environment? According to the survey reports, conducted in Sri Lanka, around 200 lakhs of polythene shopping bags and 150 lacks of lunch sheets are released to the environment daily. Due to this situation, there is a major problem faced by Sri Lanka at present as there is no suitable waste disposal site and there is a lack of proper waste disposal system. Therefore, there is a risk of creating garbage dumps rapidly in Sri Lanka. Although, it reported dead of people and property damage due to garbage dump landslides.

In December 2017, Sri Lanka joined with other nations to ban single-use plastics as a part of the UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign. Accordingly, the cabinet paper No. 17/1405/704/022 dated on 29th June 2017, manufacturing, trading and use of polythene products such as lunch sheets, polystyrene (regiform) disposable lunch boxes and grocery bags (shopping bags) have been banned with effect from 1st September 2017.With that announcement there was a huge sound from many parties of the society bewildered on producing and the usage of the above named products. Here, mainly All Ceylon Polythene Manufactures and Recyclers Association (ACPMRA) and All Ceylon Canteen Owner’s Association (ACCOA)accused the authorities in the government of not looking at the practical side of such measures and taken steps to find replacements to fill the blanks. Further, various aspects such as consumers, sellers, polythene producers, food court owners/restaurateurs were confused with this news because of lack of alternatives. Even the government banned the polythene, still everyone in our country struggle to find a replacement for plastic and polythene.

Therefore, Human Resource and Institutional Development Division in Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute initiated to launch in a study on ‘Possible Eco-Friendly Remedies for Polythene Products and Plastic Waste in Sri Lanka.’ Here, we thought to find the answers for the following questions.

Study Questions:

  • What are the views and difficulties experienced by various stakeholders due to high density polythene (HDPE) shopping bags/grocery bags and polythene lunch sheets ban?
  • Is Sri Lanka able to total ban on high density polythene (HDPE) shopping bags/grocery bags and polythene lunch sheets?
  • Are the super markets, food courts, retailers and consumers capable of adapting to alternatives for the high density polythene (HDPE) shopping bags/grocery bags and polythene lunch sheets?
  • Is a ban on high density polythene (HDPE) shopping bags/grocery bags and polythene lunch sheets sustainable? Then, what are the most prevailing and potential eco-friendly alternatives for them in Sri Lanka?
  • Are prevailing shopping bags, lunch sheets and grocery bags degraded?
  • What are the positive and negative qualities of the polythene shopping bags, lunch sheets and packaging?
  • What are the prevailing laws regarding the polythene products and solid waste in Sri Lanka and are they effective?
  • What are the issues faced by the polythene collectors and recyclers in Sri Lanka?
  • What are the sustainable remedies can be followed to manage plastic waste in Sri Lanka?

Accordingly, we hoped to achieve below objectives.


The main objective of this study is to identify the possible eco-friendly remedies for polythene products while finding the sustainable solutions to plastic waste.

Specific Objectives are;

  1. To identify the perception and difficulties faced by various stakeholders in our society regarding the high density polythene (HDPE) shopping bags/grocery bags and polythene lunch sheets banned with effect from 1st September 2017 by Sri Lankan government.
  2. To identify the prevailing and potential alternatives for the high density polythene (HDPE) shopping bags/ grocery bags and polythene lunch sheets and public perception on them in Sri Lanka. 
  3. To find the degradability of prevailing shopping bags and lunch sheets in Sri Lanka.
  4. To identify the positive and negative qualities of the polythene shopping bags, lunch sheets and packaging.
  5. To examine the prevailing laws regarding the polythene products and solid waste in Sri Lanka.
  6. To identify the sustainable remedies can be followed to manage plastic waste in Sri Lanka.

Study Location and Study Group:

This study was launched in Western Province during the time from March in 2018 to February in 2019.  Key Informant Interviews, Focus Group Discussions, Case Studies, Observations and Questionnaire Surveys were conducted to gather primary data from the different aspects in both relevant government sector and private sector while the secondary data was collected from Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and Department of Customs. Although Focus Group Discussions and Questionnaire Surveys were completed in 2018, Key Informant Interviews and Case Studies have to be conducted up to the end of February 2019, in order to get the new updates. Seven Questionnaire Surveys were separately conducted to households, customers, retailers, food court owners/restaurateurs, super market owners, alternative producers, polythene collectors and recyclers. Here, we interviewed 1390 interviewees in order to capture above stakeholders in Western Province.

Key person interviews were conducted with different parties such as Central Environment Authority (CEA), Consumer Affairs Authority, Lecturers of University of Moratuwa, Industrial Training Institute  (ITI), Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI), Western Province Solid Waste Management Authority, National Engineering Research & Development Centre (NERDC), All Ceylon Polythene Manufacturers and Recyclers Association(ACPRMA), All Ceylon Canteen Owner’s Association (ACCOA), Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC), Super markets authorizers including Lanka Sathosa, Jathika Shilpa Sabhawa and Polythene manufacturers. In addition, case studies were conducted with expert entrepreneurs who are already producing eco-friendly alternatives.

Current Progress:

A workshop to disseminate the findings was held on 05th April 2019 in order to release the findings of the study with the participation of aforementioned stakeholders. Moreover, a policy brief is to be sent for the relevant authorized persons at the mid of the May 2019.

At a Focus Group Discussion with Stakeholders


During the Field Survey



At a Focus Group Discussion with Stakeholders






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