Council Looks At Plastic Bag Alternative

Vendors have mixed feelings about the total ban of plastic bags from January next year.
06 Nov 2019 10:00
Council Looks At Plastic Bag Alternative
John Pratap at one of his market stalls selling plastics on November 4. 2019. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

The Suva City Council (SCC) has started looking at alternatives to replace single-use plastic bags, which will be banned nationwide from January next year.

Suva and Lami special administrator team chair Isikeli Tikoduadua said the SCC had already started working with a women’s group to produce reusable bags for the markets.

“The law is clear. All single-use plastics bags will be banned from January 1, 2020. I am pretty sure the vendors, rate payers, business owners and consumers are well aware of this,” he said.

“One of the women’s clubs at the Suva Market has been sewing bags from the off-cuts that are being gathered from the garment factory. These are available for sale in the market.

“Plastic bags are dangerous for the environment and it is killing our oceans and the creatures in it. The Government initiative is a good one and should be supported by all.”

Mr Tikoduadua said the SCC team would also embark on an awareness campaign to ensure that all vendors at the market were made aware.

Vendor Mereseini Lidise said she was unaware of the law and the changes taking place.

“What will I give the vegetables in? What will the people selling fish and seafood use? What is this world coming to,” she said.

“This is not right. Why do we need to ban the plastic bags?”

John Pratap is a vendor and a plastic manufacturer.

“Plastic is not good for the environment. I agree with that however, I am not with the idea of banning its use,” Mr Pratap said.

“We need to build recycling plants. Plastic can be recycled. With the current law, plastics which are thicker than 50 microgrammes can be manufactured. This will lead to an increase in plastic prices.

“And with the current levy, let the consumers bear the price. And let there be heftier fines for those littering.”

Lusiana Nanoko, a vendor from Tacirua said it was a good idea to ban plastic bags. She is of the view customers have to bring their own bags.

“This also gives us a chance to practice our weaving skills to make baskets. It was how we did it in the old days,” she said.

Single-use plastics will be phased out from January next year. Styrofoam containers and plastic straws will be banned a year later.

Lusiana Nanoko at one of her market stalls on November 4. 2019. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Lusiana Nanoko at one of her market stalls on November 4. 2019. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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