In this photograph taken on May 11, 2018, a herd of wild elephants forage among a mountain of rubbish, swallowing dangerous scraps of plastic mixed with rotting food, in the village of Digampathana in north-central Sri Lanka. (Photo: LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Sri Lanka on Friday decided to ban the import of plastic products in a bid to protect the environment and wildlife, a move likely to hit Indian plastic exports to the country.

Environment minister Mahinda Amaraweera told Parliament that the proposed plastic product import ban – mainly on toys and household utensils – could also be extended to local manufacturing as well.

The government’s decision will have an impact on Indian plastic exports as Sri Lanka’s main import sources of plastics are India, China and Thailand.

He said plastic waste has a damaging effect on the island’s wildlife.

“Plastics are doing untold damage to our wildlife — elephants, deer and other animals, We need to take immediate action to arrest this situation,” Amaraweera said.

Plastic waste had killed elephants and the deer in large numbers. Autopsies have shown plastics deposited in their stomachs.

Sri Lanka in 2017 banned the manufacture or import of non-biodegradable plastic used for wrapping food and shopping bags.

Sri Lanka has already placed import restrictions on non essential goods — a move resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic’s adverse economic effects.