Papua New Guinea Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Geoffrey Kama wants an outright ban on the manufacture, import and use of single-use plastic shopping bags in the country by November.

Kama told journalists in Port Moresby that the ban introduced by former minister Sir John Pundari was a noble move which he wanted to see enforced within three months.

“Some genuine companies in our country like the Brian Bell Group of Companies and others are introducing paper bags and that is the way to go now,” Kama said.

“We will not allow any more plastic shopping bags by November and it will be an outright ban on all single-use plastic shopping bags.”

Industries and companies were given a grace period of 18 months to prepare themselves for the ban.

Kama said the message was clear from the beginning for industries and companies to come up with innovative solutions to produce eco-bags and other forms of carry bags.

Some provinces such as East Sepik, Northern and East New Britain are already using baskets, bilums and other carry bags and doing away with plastics.

“For the plastic importers, we have around 33 or so.

“It’s easy to put a stop to them as they renew their permits annually,” Kama said. “But for the three manufacturers, their permits is valid for 25 years so that is a challenge that we are working to address it. We have already found the way forward.”

Kama said there were many means of producing carry bags and using plastic bags was a lazy way of living and not healthy for the environment.

*Dispatch from PACNEWS August 2, 2019

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