PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 10, 2009) – Bagging the plastic bags? Sounds a great idea!

We applaud Environment and Conservation Minister Benny Allen for having the guts to pick up the ball carried in the previous Parliament and take the ball in a charge to the tryline.

The former Goroka Brothers halfback must, we urge, make the big score by ensuring the implementation of the ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags is enforced. It’s been held up far too long. If the enforcement goes through from March 31, we expect to see all those involved bowing to the legislation.

One of the two major manufacturers of the bags has happily agreed to the ban, as it has prepared for the day and has biodegradable bags on sale.

The manufacturer and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the capital city warn the bio bags are more expensive and that shoppers will pay for the eco gesture.

How they impose that cost burden will be watched. We urge and implore our readers to push the issue of shopping bags and ensure we all have our long-lasting bilums at the ready when we go shopping and marketing.

Let’s support our womenfolk who make the greatest traditional carrybags in the world! Buy a bilum for K40 and it will last for years and help to save our environment. It will expand the bilum making market hugely and that can only benefit our own people.

When Michael Somare, John Momis, Tei Abal and John Guise began talking of independence for Papua New Guinea, did they carry their documents around in plastic bags? No way. They carried things in their aunty’s home-woven bilum!

Plastic bags are handy, they’re easy, they’re cheap. But they are a blight on the landscape. Yes, because we the consumers are untidy and throw them away, but the fact is that they ruin our environment, block drainage holes and create a menace for sea life.

Minister Allen, this is your big chance to make a mark in the country’s history book. Environment and Conservation is not a weighty or influential portfolio in the PNG political environment but ensuring this bags decision is enforced will give you much credit with the average thinking Papua New Guinean and thousands of young students. And all those mums and aunties and grandmums who will find a much bigger market for their bilums!

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