Help PNG starts fight against use of plastic bags


By Moya Iowa
A non-governmental organisation is reigniting the fight against the use of polymer plastic bags by initiating a new project called “ban the bag”.
Help PNG started its initiative a few weeks ago and will be focusing on selling bumper tickets for K5 each to raise public awareness as well as collecting signatures to present a petition to the Government to enforce the ban on plastic bags.
Help PNG, a marine environmental conservation, protection and development group, felt plastic pollution was a serious environmental problem despite attempts by the government to ban them in 2005.
The group hopes that the initiative will build gradual momentum towards having the ban enforced.
Chief executive of the group Frank Butler said the whole idea was to get people to gradually shift away from the single use polymer plastic bags and to use more environmentally-friendly alternatives such as string bags (bilums), baskets and multi-use cotton bags that would eventually decrease the need for plastic bags, leading to its eventual ban.
The group has given more than 200 free stickers to public motor vehicles for added awareness and also has a mascot called the “Plastic Bag Man” who assists in sticker sales and public awareness on the impact of plastic pollution and  a visual reminder of how unattractive plastic pollution can look.
Butler said that the first ban on plastic bags in 2005 was not successful due to poor implementation by the government where businesses were not given enough time to find alternatives to plastic bags and also lacked of public awareness.
Butler said the first ban was introduced overnight, with no social preparations done and hopes that through the use of the initiative the public and businesses were given the heads up to decrease their use of plastics.

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