Ministry enforcing Styrofoam ban

The Government Ministry in charge of overseeing a national ban on Styrofoam products which began last month says it is ensuring businesses comply with the new policy.   

The Assistant Chief Executive Officer (A.C.E.O) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) Division of Environment Conservation, Seumalo Afele Faiilagi, told the Samoa Observer the Ministry is monitoring stores in Upolu and Savaii.

The Styrofoam ban took effect on 28 February 2021; the M.N.R.E. was given charge of overseeing the ban from the first day of this month. 

The ban was initially planned to take effect last year but was postponed due to the disruptions to supply lines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ban had been scheduled to take effect last January and it followed a nationwide prohibition on single-use plastic bags, packing bags, and straws in January 2019.

Seumalo says they are still raising public awareness about the new policy.

“The purpose is to make sure that the public is fully aware of the ban, and seeking their support,” he said.

The A.C.E.O. said that to date he had received few reports of breaches of the ban.  

He said that the Ministry had worked in the lead-up to the ban to help businesses reduce the use of styrofoam products and ensured they had sufficient warning to sell styrofoam products before the ban took place.  

Seumalo said that there were only a few remaining stores with styrofoam in stock by the time the ban started; they handed over the products to the Ministry's monitoring unit for disposal at the Tafaigata landfill.

The ban is part of a bid to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean, generates toxic gases, or pollutes the food chain.

Any party caught importing the now-banned products will face a fine of up to $10,000.

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