The Bangladeshi government is to ban the manufacture and use of polythene bags in the country's capital from 1 January 2002 in an attempt to halt environmental damage.

On Saturday, Forest and Environment Minister Shahjahan Siraj told the Forum of Environment Journalists of Bangladesh (FEJB) that the "manufacture and use of polythene-made shopping bags will be banned initially in Dhaka city and then across the country in phases. In the second phase, the ban will imposed in other major cities."

According to Xinhua News Agency, officials are now examining whether there are any legal aspects to the proposed ban.

The proposal has also been discussed with the ministries of Jute and Textiles who are looking to alternative materials such as paper and fabric carriers.