I have been following the issue of banning non-biodegradable plastic bags ever since it was first brought up.
I have also followed up with the Department of Environment and Conservation regarding what measures to be taken when the ban is introduced.
The minister has good intentions and it is a plus for the country.
But is he aware that department lacks the technical knowhow of biodegradable products?
The department to date has no procedures, no forms, no knowledge and even no-one to answer questions raised.
A public notice states that importers are required to get approval from the DEC to import biodegradable plastic bags.
Firstly, the DEC does not have any application forms.
Secondly, on what technical advice would they allow imports?
Local manufacturers are now supposedly manufacturing biodegradable plastic bags.
But to my knowledge and according to ISO certified manufacturers around the world, a printed stamp or logo must be printed on each individual plastic bag produced, in order to comply with international ISO standard.
To date, I have not seen a single local manufacturer abiding by this standard.
I urge the minister to pursue this matter in a professional manner and open his door to the outside world and not to only listen to a few individuals with their own interest in this country.
The minister said recently he wanted to protect the local manufacturers and to ensure the local workforce keep their jobs.
If the minister is serious, then he must ensure that local manufacturers comply with international standards so we can see improvements.
I applaud the minister for taking a stand and I fully support the idea of a cleaner, greener and safer PNG for future generations to come.