MADANG ANTI-PLASTIC DRIVE CALLED OFF DUE TO ABUSE

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By Joyceline Tseraha

MADANG, Papua New Guinea (October 11, 1999 – The National)---Abuse of the plastic campaign here has forced the initiators, Andersons Foodland and Rabtrad Cash and Carry, to call it off.

The campaign, which was supposed to run until December, was terminated last week.

Andersons Foodland branch manager Gary Dunlop said, "We started it and we felt it has to stop because people were abusing it."

Mr. Dunlop said the campaign, which had not been budgeted, was becoming too expensive, as people started bringing plastics from as far as Lae, the north coast of Madang, Karkar and Wewak.

He said, "We were just helping to clean up Madang town and not the whole country."

Rabtrad's branch manager Hamish Bassett said, "We only meant to clean up Madang town, but people came from everywhere. We did not plan to clean up the rest of PNG."

Some plastic collected and paid for by Andersons Foodland and Rabtrad was believed to have been recollected from the dump and sold again.

Mr. Dunlop said, "I think the town authorities did not do a good job burning the plastics and people brought back plastics that weren't burnt and sold them again."

However, Madang town authorities that were responsible for burning the plastics said this was not true.

Town manager Anton Yagama said, "It's false what people are saying. Nothing was resold and we destroyed everything."

He also denied statements that the town council was not helping in the campaign.

"We have the litter patrol operating in town and they make sure the plastics are only collected in the town vicinity and not from outside."

He added that people needed to change their attitudes about a cleaner Madang if the town was to maintain its present image.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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