The regulation to ban the importation, distribution, manufacture, sale & supply of single- use plastic products in the country is now in force.

This comes after the 6 months grace period provided for the regulation since 1st September 2023 came to an end on Thursday.

Following efforts to reduce plastic pollution in the country, the government through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology signed and gazetted the regulation last year making it an effective subsidiary legislation under section 55 of the Environment Act 1998.

Five categories of single used plastic products now banned under this regulation are plastic shopping bags, plastic straws, plastic disposable cups, plates, and cutlery’s, polystyrene foam plates and cups, and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) water bottles that contains less than 1.5 litres.

The Honiara public have so far responded positively to the regulation.

Speaking to SIBC News, Shop Manager of Snap Fish Solomon, Samuel Mui said customers visiting their shop are aware of the regulation as they are now using shopping bags.

Snap Fish Shop Manager, Samuel Mui

“We believe this is an important initiative developed by the government to deal with plastic pollution in our country. So, prior to the 1st of March, we have encouraged customers to start using shopping bags and to do away with plastic bags. “

“Since Friday, all our customers brought shopping bags with them when coming here. There were some who did not bring shopping bags with them, but we offered them bags that we have in store, and they were willing to pay for it,” said Mui.

Under the plastic ban regulation, individuals found breaching the regulation are liable to pay a fine of up to $100,000- and 3-years imprisonment.

These heavy penalties are in place to ensure that the public take the regulation seriously.

In Honiara markets where distribution of plastic bags is a common sight, is also slowly transitioning to a more plastic free environment.

Since Friday, Market Vendors have switched to providing and selling reusable shopping bags at a cost of $5-00 to customers.

“For so long I have been using plastic bags and products when doing my daily markets. Plastic bags are much cheaper for me to give to my customers for free when they pay for my goods but with the ban, I was worried that I will have to convince them to pay for their own bags which I sell at a higher price,” said a Market Vendor, Betty Solobola.

Market Vendor, Betty Solobola.

“But since the ban on Friday I saw that a lot of people bought the reusable bags even with its price. A pack of 100 reusable bags was empty before the end of day. So it is good to see that people are complying with the plastic ban regulation.”

Mrs. Solobola also encourages other market vendors and customers to continue the practice of using reusable bags to keep the environment clean.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment will be conducting compliance monitoring on the regulation starting tomorrow.

Deputy Secretary Corporate of the Ministry of Environment, Karl Kuper told SIBC News that this is to ensure that shops and business are complying with the regulation.

“This is a multi-agency initiative so starting on Monday, we will be conducting compliance activities across Honiara. This will be done by our Ministry, the police and the Honiara City Council starting on Monday and onwards.”


By Eliza Kukutu

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