NEWS

Charging For Plastic Shopping Bags Right Move

EDITORIAL: Charging separately for shopping check-out plastic bag is a step in the right direction, albeit not banning the bags totally. An amendment to the Customs (Prohibited Imports and Exports)
13 May 2017 10:04
Charging For Plastic Shopping  Bags Right Move
Piles of plastic rubbish including plastic at the Suva Point foreshore on May 11, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar

EDITORIAL: Charging separately for shopping check-out plastic bag is a step in the right direction, albeit not banning the bags totally.

An amendment to the Customs (Prohibited Imports and Exports) regulation which is being proposed by the Oceans Champion, Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau, is one of the ways Fiji can contribute towards the United Nations Ocean Conference co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden in New York, USA, from June 5 to 9.

The amendment being proposed is already enforced in a number of countries. What shoppers do not know is that the cost of a shopping bag is already factored in – consumers are paying for the plastic shopping bags in any case, not separately.

Now, consumers have a choice. They can save that money by simply carrying reusable bags while shopping. This is a no-brainer.

It is alarming when leading scientists here have declared that by 2050 we would have more plastics in our ocean than fish.

It is even more alarming, according to scientists, that Fijians end up eating this plastic, when we consume seafood. Samples from the Suva foreshore area already reveals that fish in the area have plastic particles in their stomach. When eaten, the same plastic particles end up in our body. This is horrifying.

The proposed law will help cut this down. When faced with the possibility of having to pay for plastic bags separately, a number of people would opt not to fork out that additional sum, instead they would prefer to carry their own durable bags to cart their shopping.

We are not the first people to do this. This is being done the world over because many people have realised the importance of saying no to plastic.

We just need to walk along the foreshore in Suva, the Suva Point area, along the beaches in the West to see the many plastic bags that are washed ashore.

This amendment should be fast-tracked in Parliament and be treated with urgency. If we are to lead the charge on oceans talks, we have to walk the talk.

And, it begins from home.

Say no to plastics, Fiji!

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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