High-profile plastic plan lacking detail: environmentalist

The President of the Samoa Conservation Society says a high-profile plan to reduce plastic waste in the Pacific lacks detail and includes targets too ‘modest’ to make a real impact. 

The ANZAC Plastic Pact was announced last month with the support of major business partners, such as the Australian supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, committing them to dramatically reduce their use of plastics. 

The pact is a global initiative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Coca-Cola in the south Pacific is among its founding partners. 

Coca-Cola South Pacific says its targets under the pact include shifting to 100 per cent renewable plastic packaging by 2025. 

The S.C.S President James Atherton told the Samoa Observer that uniting different sectors behind a common goal was a positive step for the environmental lobby. 

But he said that more work needed to be done to establish the details of the pact’s 2025 commitments. 

Mr. Atherton described a third target nominated by Coca-Cola South Pacific - increasing their plastic packaging collection and recycling by 25 per cent across the region - as a modest achievement. 

"It sounds great but it's not as great as it sounds,” Mr. Atherton said. 

“My questions would be first of all how are they going to monitor this? Who’s monitoring this and how is it going to be monitored?

“They need baselines for all of these, do they have baselines? Where are the baselines?

"[That target which is a] really key one I think is very very, modest when you consider [it amounts to] only an increase by 25 per cent [on] the current situation."

He said that the society welcomes all efforts to reduce waste or manage waste better but questioned how it will be achieved.

He said an uplift in recycling of 25 per cent was too modest to solve plastic pollution problems. 

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