BETELNUT BAN IN PORT MORESBY EFFECTIVE

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Waste has been greatly reduced

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 16, 2009) – The betelnut ban in the nation’s capital, which began three weeks into February, has made resounding progress and improvement in the city, NCD Governor Powes Parkop confirmed yesterday.

"It has not been an easy task," he admitted.

He said that the ban would continue and appealed to city residents, especially vendors and chewers, to cooperate so as to reach desired results that would be beneficial for all.

Mr. Parkop also said that "this action is necessary to improve hygiene standards and the image of the city".

Some of the positive results of the ban noted by Parkop included vendors either moving to their private premises or to designated markets, a notable waste reduction of about 60% which shows that betelnut contributes a lot to the volume of waste in the city, general attitude of betelnut spitting had reduced, and there had been cooperation from growers who would like to centralise the wholesale of betelnuts which will contribute to the goals of the commission in reducing negative impacts of betelnuts.

However, there remains to be one major negative impact that is under much scrutiny which is the conduct of the enforcers.

Since the inception of the ban, the NCDC has received 47 formal complaints regarding the conduct of the rangers which scope from unlawful destruction of goods and property assault charges where only few are legitimate.

Parkop admitted that there had been such cases, however, in general, the enforcers had conducted their duties within recommended guidelines and codes of conduct.

Meanwhile, Parkop stressed that the ban would continue and assured vendors that alternative markets were being prepared for them to continue their business and also urged them to cooperate with the city authorities for both parties to benefit.

In a move to provide for buai vendors the commission is looking at relocating buai markets to Tokarara, Gabutu and a new one at Eight-mile and is also looking to restore Koki and Waigani markets and relocate the Hohola market.

On the note of cleaning up the city, Parkop also mentioned the ban of non-bio degradable plastic bags which will be enforced as soon as possible.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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