Proposed Plastic Ban Awaits Cabinet’s Endorsement
The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology has submitted a paper to the Cabinet on banning certain categories of plastic in the country.
Permanent Secretary, Dr Melchoir Mataki at the OPMC press conference said the paper is now awaiting Cabinet’s endorsement.
“Under the environment act the minister has the power to make regulations but because banning is a very strong measure as there are also trade implications and financial implications, the ban will mean setting aside some materials which cannot be imported, manufactured, and used in the country. This is the reason why we must seek cabinet’s endorsement,” Mr Mataki said.
Regulations on the proposed plastic ban are currently on their drafting stage.
“A joint task force between the ministry of finance, environment, and the Attorney General chambers office are working together on the drafting instructions for the regulations,” Mr Mataki said.
He explained they are looking at banning plastics that could be replaced by other means.
“The intention here is banning certain categories of plastics, single use plastics and plastics that already have other environment friendlier options for example shopping bag plastics and single use plastics, items such as straws and takeaway plates are also included.”
The reason for the proposed ban is to address plastic waste output throughout the country, more so in Honiara.
“Honiara each year alone creates around 103,000 tons of waste and plastic waste accounts for 2,488 tons of this amount. Honiara daily puts out 6.1 to 6.2 tons of plastic waste,” he said.
The government in February this year plans to implement the single use plastic ban before the Pacific Games in November.
The implementation of the ban will be done in a phase out period of 12 months to 24 months.
“Actual implementation of the ban will take time as we have to give time for importers and manufacturers time to sell off stocks that the plastic ban will cover and based on practices in the region 6 to 12 months are given for importers to prepare before the ban kicks in,” Mr Mataki said.
The country currently doesn’t have the means to dispose of plastic waste, the majority of the waste goes into the environment.
By Sharon Nanau