Plastic bags ban still on

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday February 12th, 2014


THE ban on non-bio-degradable plastic bags remains in force, an official from the Department of Environment and Conservation.

Department director special projects, John Michael told that to stakeholders in the highlands region during an awareness campaign on the ban this week.

He said some shops his team had visited in Goroka town, Eastern Highlands, had complied with the ban on plastic shopping bags.

Michael relayed the Government’s appreciation of business houses that complied by using biodegradable  plastic shopping bags.

“I appeal to other business houses to follow and comply with the Government’s directions on the banning of plastic shopping bags,” he said.

But, he said, there was still an influx of non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags flooding the market.

Michael said the Department of Environment and Conservation was now targeting the end users or retail distributors to demonstrate to the Government that they imported non-biodegradable plastic bags.

“A regulation to that effect will be introduced soon and regional workshops will be conducted to further enhance the awareness to every stakeholder,” he said.

He met with Eastern Highlands deputy provincial administrator John Gimisive and Goroka Town manager Harold Abori to discuss the issue before visiting shops in the town yesterday.

Michael told shop owners manufacturers had adjusted and had complied with regulations but there were some who continued to illegally import non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags.

“We want to revisit our policies to target the end users and discourage them from importing them,”he said.

“But those found using them will be fined.” 

Gimisive said the province lacked the capacity to manage waste and there was a need to set up an agency to separately manage waste.

He said he appreciated the efforts of the department to eradicate non-degradable materials, giving an example of plastics being dumped in Zokozoi Creek.

Gimisive said people could carry bilums when shopping instead of using plastic bags.

Abori said he supported a total ban on non-degradable plastic shopping bags and encouraged retailers to use paper bags.

Super Value Store Goroka branch  manager Reo Agus said they were already implementing the ban.

“We align with it and people should be educated through awareness and separate waste into degradable, non-degradable and perishable and dispose,” he said.

Bintangor Trading’s Tom Pori said they were using legally approved plastic bags and were complying with the department’s rules.

“We got our own shopping bags  and we tell them to come back with it and fill their shopping,” he said.

“We encourage them to use bilums like mothers use to go to the garden.”