31 Mar 2008

Bill to ban plastic shopping bags gets widespread support in American Samoa

11:50 am on 31 March 2008

A bill before American's Samoa House banning plastic shopping bags has received support from government officials and locals.

Supporters of the legislation provided a wealth of information and personal testimony to show the harm the bags have on coral reefs and other marine life.

The Marine and Wildlife Resources it says research has shown that 60% of corals in the territory have been damaged or destroyed due to runoffs and plastic bags.

It said the bill will help protect the territory's marine resources.

The Coral Reef Initiative Coordinator with the Coral Reef Advisory Group, Jeremy Goldberg, told the House the harm plastic bags can cause.

"Plastic bags take approximately 500 to 1000 years to decompose and can have long lasting harmful impacts on the environment. Plastic litter annually kills tens of thousands of marine animals when it is ingested and blocks the digestive tract fills the stomach and results in malnutrition and starvation."