Plastic bags a sensitive topic

The fight to save the environment from pollution is a good fight, where the government must tread carefully so as not to interfere with manufacturers of plastic bags.

At the launch of Brian Bell Group’s paper bag initiative, former Minister for Environment & Conservation, John Pundari, and Managing Director of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority, Gunther Joku, said they await on advice from the State Solicitors to guide them as they had authorised certain manufacturers of plastic shopping bags in PNG with permits from 22 to 25 years.

Pundari said: “It’s never easy because people make excessive capital investments to produce plastic bags in PNG (and) have to be careful going forward in so far as damages the government can cause as a result of good intentions.”

Joku added: “We encouraged industries to look at alternatives. Discussions continue.

“Currently we have a regulation to regulate the import of manufactured bio-degradable plastic shopping bags, it’s really hard to enforce because of counterfeits coming in. We need a lot of resources to back us up to endure biodegradables that are really produced.”

Salome Vincent