8 Oct 2009

Marshall Islands MP calls for plastics ban

7:00 pm on 8 October 2009

A member of parliament in the Marshall Islands is proposing a ban on the import of plastic bags, bottles, and styrofoam products.

Senator Gerald Zackios, a former foreign minister, has introduced legislation that aims to ban non-biodegradable plastic and Styrofoam items because both are a major land and marine environmental hazard.

Our correspondent in Majuro says Senator Zackios is also targeting plastic bottles because in the past few years shipments of vodka have been concealed in what appeared to be bottled water.

Giff Johnson says there has been some concern from the public about the consumer cost of replacing plastics but environmental and government agencies strongly support the move.

"From the plastic bag side and styrofoam issue I think there's quite a good push on this because of the damage to the lagoon and the ocean here, I mean the pollution problem is really quite serious from plastics."

Giff Johnson says it's unlikely that the legislation will be voted on before parliament goes into recess in four days.