9 Oct 2009

Marshall Islands environmental group supports ban on turtle-killing plastics

2:31 pm on 9 October 2009

The Marshall Islands Environmental Protection Agency says a ban on plastic bags would protect the country's sea turtle population.

The comment follows the introduction to parliament of legislation to ban the importation of plastic bags, bottles and styrofoam products.

The agency's general manager, John Bungitak, says plastic waste is not only an eyesore but a significant threat to marine life.

"When we dive in the lagoon these discarded plastics end up in the corals, covering them and killing them and we also notice that turtles sometimes eat these plastics and that also contributes to the endangered species."

John Bungitak says he hopes parliament will pass the legislation and enable the Marshall Islands to set an example to other Pacific countries.

He says finding a long-term solution to the country's waste issues won't be simple but taking plastics out of the waste stream is a good start.