NEWS

It’s a Crime to Sell, Use Or Manufacture Single-Use Plastics

The manufacturing, selling or making of single-use plastic bags is a crime, says the Govern­ment, which carries a fine of half a million dol­lars or jail up to seven years.
01 Jan 2020 13:42
It’s a Crime to Sell, Use Or Manufacture Single-Use Plastics
Plastic bags at the Suva market.

The manufacturing, selling or making of single-use plastic bags is a crime, says the Govern­ment, which carries a fine of half a million dol­lars or jail up to seven years.

That’s because single-use plastic bags is now banned across the country, from today.

The ban is in line with Government’s commitment to tackle climate change issues here and around the world.

According to law, a person who manufactures single use plastic bags or that with a thickness of more than 50 microns, commits an offence is liable upon convic­tion to a fine not exceeding $500,000 or a term of im­prisonment not exceeding seven years or both.

A person who sells supplies or distributes single-use plastic bags to another person or makes plastic avail­able to a customer for carrying goods purchased or to be purchased from a retailer, commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $150,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.

The ban does not apply to plastic bags that are an in­tegral part of packaging (plastic bags for bread), used as garbage bags and bin liners and above 50 microns in thickness.

A plastic bag levy of 50 cents will apply for reusable plastic bags, permitted by law. These are thicker than 50 microns.

Market vendors are also calling on consumers to bring their reusable bags when they go shopping, or buy one from the market.

Suva Market vendor Kelevi Varasiko said the ban on single-use plastic bags was a wise decision by the Government, but he hopes Government would come up with an alternative.

Lakeshni Lata, a vendor who has been supplying and selling single-use plastic bags for more than a year in Suva, is not sure what to do with the stock that she has.

“We will be using thicker bags from this year, which are not classified as single use bags,” she said.

The ban comes into effect from today.

The Department of Environment will be responsible for enforcing the law, however, the hope of Govern­ment is that people become responsible and realise the right thing to do.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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