News 3 May 2018
Manufacturers and importers of plastic shopping bags have been given an 18-month grace period to come up with an environmentally-friendly alternative before the Government imposes a total ban on plastic bags.
An option for companies that want to continue to import biodegradable plastic shopping bags is an environmental levy cost of K20 million which will be shared equally among environmental permit holders. This was put forward by Minister for Environment and Conservation and Climate Change John Pundari.
Mr Pundari made the undertaking after meeting with not more than 50 industrial representatives at the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority headquarters in Port Moresby yesterday.
He told the industrial representatives that he would not deviate from the ban and had tasked the government agency responsible for environment and conservation to take a lead in the interactive discussions leading up to the ban.
Noting that the ban will not be received well by companies involved in importing plastic bags, Mr Pundari said as a responsible government, serious actions needed to be taken to better address the issue of managing and controlling plastic bag litter and long term health impacts on the country’s population and the country’s unique environment.
He said while the campaign to eradicate the use of shopping plastic bags is gaining momentum internationally, PNG needed to do its part in looking for alternate ways.
While, the first discussion was just in its preliminary stages yesterday, some companies have agreed on the ban while others queried whether the ban would work but were willing to suggest alternative solutions.
Some of the big names such as RH HyperMart, Colourpack and Star Mountain floated ideas around for the need for better waste management by town authorities which has been lacking in big towns and cities. Also, awareness on communities on the use of plastic bags was also raised.
The company representatives return in a month with alternative ideas to work forward.
Source: PNG Post Courier