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Pundari: The campaign to clean up PNG of plastic bags has now begun

By Meleasie Goviro – EMTV News, Port Moresby

The ban on plastic bags in the country is now in motion.

In a press conference today (May 8), Environment and Conservation Minister, John Pundari, disclosed that the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority is engaging in a partnership with NCD Commission to roll out a pilot project in the capital city.

They have come to an agreement that leading up to APEC, a campaign to clean up PNG of plastic bags will start, as soon as they have finalized the finer details of the project.

By 2050 the UN has forecast that plastic bags will outnumber fish that live in our oceans if nothing is done to reduce the overwhelming plastic pollution.

Conservation and Environment Minister, John Pundari, says his goal is to do just that – reduce the number of plastics bags.

The Conservation and Environment Ministry has made alliances with NCD to begin a campaign to rid Port Moresby of plastic waste starting with the notorious plastic bags.

Parkop said until the end of APEC NCDC will be sending out teams to buy loads of plastic bags weighing 50kg from anyone in the city who will sell.

The plastic ban has been pursued many times in the past and has always met unforeseen obstacles. Players in the plastic bag production Industry have pushed back; and most recently, petitioned for the government to use an alternative instead – the bio-degradable plastic bag.

Pundari said it was an alternative that was costly and seemingly impossible, considering only two countries in the World have the facilities to test whether or not the plastic bags were genuinely bio-degradable.

Furthermore, regulating the import of these bags would be an additional expense, with the likelihood of issues like backdoor dealings and counterfeiting surfacing.

Pundari is however confident that this time around, the Ministry is not settling for anything less than a total ban by 2019.

He said plastic bag manufacturers and companies using plastics to hold products have been notified that if none of them is willing to bear the costs of managing biodegradable plastics and the plastic pollution they contribute to, the government is going to be left with no choice but to impose a complete ban on plastics.

Pundari said the partnership is yet to finalize the finer details of the current campaign; and according to Parkop, NCD has dedicated K150, 000 to launch the project.

Pundari alluded that it was high time for PNG to start taking on a more responsible leadership role in the South Pacific; and banning plastic bags was a good start.

The Ministry’s move to set the plastic ban in motion aligns with this year’s World Environment Day theme ‘Take Action to beat plastic pollution: if you cant use it, refuse it’.


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