Petition targets ban on plastic bags


A Vabukori villager in the National Capital District says the government should stop the importation of polymer plastic bags as a non-governmental organisation reignites a fight against their use.
Esther Kaib Kaib, after signing a petition by Help PNG, said: “I come from the Vabukori village and it is on the coastal area where there is a lot of plastic we see on the coastline polluting the area.
“We should be encouraging everyone to start using bilums that we have and other alternative methods to carry around groceries or whatever that we carry instead of resorting to plastic bags.”
Help PNG, a marine environmental conservation, protection and development group, says the petition seeks a ban on the import of plastic bags into the country.
Help PNG chief executive  Frank Butler said the group’s initial plan was to build artificial reefs using old tyres but they found a huge amount of plastics on the shore.
“So we took it all the way to where can we put a choke on it and stop it, and the only place that we can do that was actually at Customs,” Butler said.
“If you can stop it from the place it comes from at the container, at the Customs, then you have an absolute guarantee.
“Everybody in PNG is aware that this is a problem, everybody in PNG wants it to stop.”
The signing of the petition started last month.
Butler said getting the signatures was not the hard part even though it was tiring.
“We want hard laws, deterrent laws, we don’t want punitive laws so that it is not worth anybody’s time to be importing plastics into this country,” he said.