Ministry will enforce nationwide plastic ban

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) will carry out inspections on January 30 to ensure the ban on single use plastic is enforced nationwide.

The inspections will particularly target retail outlets to ensure there is compliance with the Waste (Plastic Bag) Management Regulation 2018. 

The Ministry gave the public and the business community the heads-up in a public notice, which also warned that failure to comply will result in a conviction to a fine not exceeding 100 penalty units or SAT $10,000. 

According to the MNRE Chief Executive Officer and the Government’s principal waste management officer, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, a penalty point is worth T$100. 

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“Pursuant to the Waste Management Act 2010, Cabinet has endorsed the Waste (Plastic Bag) Management Regulation 2018 to manage the plastic problem in Samoa with commitment to protect our oceans and marine environment.

“As such, the public is hereby advised that the Waste (Plastic Bag) Regulation 2018 prohibits the import, manufacture, export, sale and distribution of plastics shopping bags, packing bags and straws effective from the 30 January 2019.

“Plastic shopping bags under the regulation means a bag made in whole or partly of thin plastic film and contains starch (such as biodegradable bags) or full petroleum, or additive used as shopping bags and packing bags. Packing bags means packing bags used for re-packing and storage of products,” the Ministry stated in public notices. 

However, there are exemptions for the purposes of food safety and in consideration of food items, where plastic packaging is necessary.

“The following are therefore exempted from the prohibition; plastic bag used exclusively to pack or repack frozen goods sold at retailers such as meat, frozen ice cream, ice cubes, locally produced chips, locally produced kekesaina, ava, local biscuits, repacked coffee, tea, sugar, flour and cocoa,” said the Ministry.

The plastic prohibition ban will go into effect next Wednesday January 30.

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