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Plastic-Bag Ban To Benefit Solomons’ Tourism

The premier of Western Province in Solomon Islands says banning plastic bags will preserve his region’s environment for tourism.

Wayne Maepio has set up a committee to consider such a ban, as he says plastic bag pollution in the province has reached an epidemic proportion.

Mr Maepio told Ben Robinson Drawbridge, the pollution is already having an impact on marine life.


WAYNE MAEPIO: It’s been a concern to me because of the environmental impact, the fish, and also with so many plastics, many of the fish have been contaminated by plastics. On that understanding I’ve made the decision to actually ask my technical team advising me what to do in terms of legal implications, to ban the plastic. We’re trying to make sure that the plastic doesn’t even reach our province. We’re trying to find a way that the plastics are just stopped from Honiara or maybe from where they are coming from. We don’t really want those plastics even to reach our province through any in-trade link or any people that bring those plastics that they’re selling to my people.

BEN ROBINSON-DRAWBRIDGE: But what will people do, how will they carry their shopping?

WM: There are two main areas that I’ve asked my committee to look at. One is the legal way of banning the plastics. secondly is the alternative options. On the alternative options, we still have our local materials in our province, the traditional bags available. And I’m also looking at our degradable plastics as an alternative plastics to the province.

BRD: Looking around you now, the environmental impact, is it obvious for everybody to see?

WM: Yes, in town in Gizo – a very small town in Gizo. You will see evidence about those plastics that have been thrown everywhere. But in rural areas, when you really go down to the rural areas, you won’t see a lot of plastics in those areas. but in the urban areas, such as Gizo, Noro, sub-urban stations, there is evidence of plastics being thrown everywhere. But if we started now, it will be easier for the future generations to be taught about the importance of environment. because the country is not too big and my province, the population is still small. So by regulating it properly now, it will help the future generations in terms of keeping our environment clean and keeping our soil clean. But I think my focus is really on the tourism industry. I have to make sure that our islands are clean and conducive to people who come and watch our seas, maybe our fish, our beautiful reefs that can be dived. People might enjoy those spectacular sea waters that have not been disturbed by those waste plastics. I’m trying to put the law that will also help me promote tourism and environment at the same time.

BRD: How have your people responded to the idea?

WM: I think I’ve got a very good, positive response from the public. They view it as the right way and right path that we need to do. And I’m feeling that my people are backing me up to make sure that this must be regulated properly and we are moving in that direction, to ban plastic for a better world in the future.


(Source: Radio New Zealand [RNZ] Pacific/Environment 09 June 2017)

The post Plastic-Bag Ban To Benefit Solomons’ Tourism appeared first on Discover the South Pacific.

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