News Item

No Pelesitiki campaign offers natural alternatives to plastic bags in Tonga

News 29 Nov 2018

Using fabric bags and kato ‘oa (coconut woven baskets) as alternatives to single use plastics is the aim of a No Pelesitiki Campaign launched in Tonga on November 26, with the support of Queen Nanasipau‘u.

The campaign joins a global movement to ban the use of single use plastics, and to offer replacement bags. The New Zealand High Commission to Tonga has donated TOP$20,000 pa'anga to the campaign which is supported by the Royal Household, nobles, parliamentarians and other key stakeholders.

Hon Frederica Tuita Filipe said the replacement bags initiative emerged out of the All Saints Fasi Anglican Church monthly rubbish pick-up program along the waterfront at Fasi. She said they found that the rubbish, consisting mainly of single use plastic, collected in the morning would eventually reappear by the evening.

“This can become a vicious cycle that may discourage efforts. Our church looked at other alternative ways to address this littering issue, thus the No Pelesitiki Campaign came about.”

She said the campaign complements existing efforts in communities in Tonga, in particular the Tonga National Youth Congress (TNYC) who are lobbying with government to move the proposed Ban of Single-use Plastic Regulation 2020 under the Environment Management Act 2010.

During the event, guests heard a presentation by campaign leader, Eleni Leveni-Tevi, who spoke of the negative impacts plastic has on land and in our oceans.

“This campaign is also about encouraging our youth, and current generation and next generation to be part of this global movement.”

The Fasi Anglican Youth then performed a rendition of their theme song, ‘The living years’ by Mike and the Mechanics’.

President of the Fasi Anglican Youth, Peni Lepa says the youth are proud of what they started from their monthly rubbish pick up.

“We want to also encourage other youth groups in Tonga to support this campaign and help raise awareness and be the change agent to ban plastics.”

The replacement bags on display at the event were made by the Fasi Anglican Church youth and women as a powerful message to encourage people that they too can play a part in keeping our environment clean.

To purchase the replacement bags, the public can contact Eleni Leveni-Tevi on 841 2093 or Asupa Motuapuaka on 774 0922.

Source: Matangi Tonga