5 Jan 2005

PNG Chamber of Commerce calls for rethink on plastic bag ban

4:19 pm on 5 January 2005

The Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce says the Papua New Guinea Government should go back to the drawing board over its new policy banning the import of plastic shopping bags.

Businesses in PNG say in addition to the importation of the bags, their sale has also been banned by the Government, and manufacture of the non-biodegradable bags will be illegal from June.

The Government is justifying the ban, effective from January the first, on environmental grounds.

The president of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce, David Conn, agrees that discarded bags are an environmental nuisance, but says much better consultation with businesses was needed.

"Basically, I would like the department who implemented this so hastily to go back to the drawing boards and talk to business, talk to all those involved and let's have a planned strategy to do this. If it's by the first of June well I think that can be done. And we can then work on it and get rid of this scourge, because there's no doubt it is a problem in urban centres, although the major issue is not necessarily plastic bags, it's people's attitudes to them and dispoal of them."

David Conn says the Government could have considered imposing an import levy on non-biodegradable plastic bags, in favour of the limited number of biodegradable bags available.