Environment officers to monitor compliance of plastic ban

The ban on all single-use plastic bags including those with or without handles came into effect on January 1, 2020. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

A TEAM of environment officers from the Department of Environment have been directed to undertake random spot checks to confirm compliance of Section 45A of the Environment Management Act 2005.

The directive has been given by the Ministry of Waterways and Environment who will vigorously monitor compliance of the ban in usage of single use plastic bags by traders and consumers.

The plastic bag ban was announced by the Minister of Economy in his 2018/2019 budget address.

Minister for Waterways and Environment, Dr Mahendra Reddy said the purpose of the ban is to reduce Fiji’s consumption of plastic bag as it has far reaching environmental consequences when not managed properly.

“The team of environment officers from the Department of Environment are currently carrying out random assessments of commercial facilities to determine adherence to the plastic bag ban,” Dr Reddy said.

“Officers from the three divisional offices are currently on the ground carrying out assessments on compliance levels,” he said.

“The Environment Management Act 2005 section 45A prohibits the use of plastic bags that are less than 50 microns thick and are used for carrying and transporting goods.

“The ban applies to the manufacture, sales, supply and distribution of such plastic bags. Waste Disposal bags and plastic bags that form an integral part of a products packing (before sale) are exempt from the ban.

“Persons and facilities that are found to be contravening the plastic bag ban by manufacturing, selling, supplying or distributing banned plastics will be liable to conviction under the Environment Management Act 2005.  Fines and imprisonment terms apply for those found to contravening the Environment Management Act 2005.

“Environment officers from the Department of Environment will be continuing with the monitoring and compliance inspections through today and later this week to ensure full compliance of the plastic bag ban.

“Members of the community are encouraged to contact the Department of Environment via the following landline contacts should they have any information on persons or commercial facilities that may be suspected of manufacturing, selling, supplying or distributing banned plastic bags.”

Central division: 3311699

Western division: 6660141/6645055

Northern division: 8818015/8818017.

 

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