Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment Climate Change Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Dr Melchior Mataki says a regulation to ban single use plastics in the country has already been approved by cabinet and “not awaiting cabinet endorsement ” as carried by the national broadcaster SIBC yesterday.
PS Mataki says in his remarks he was elaborating on the process the Ministry took to get endorsement for the regulation, which included seeking cabinet endorsement.
“Under the Environment Act the minister has the power to make regulations but because banning is a very strong measure as there are also trade and financial implications, the ban will mean setting aside some materials which cannot be imported, manufactured, and used in the country. This is the reason why we sought cabinet’s endorsement,” Mr Mataki said.
He added the Regulation for the proposed plastic ban is currently on its drafting stage. A joint Technical Working Committee (TWC) led by the Ministry of MECDM is working together with the Attorney Generals Chamber on the drafting instruction for the regulation.
Meanwhile the TWC held its fourth meeting yesterday. In its deliberations, the TWC mapped out its awareness strategies that is expected to be rolled out very soon. The campaign will include the use of the mainstream media, social media, Public Bill Boards, radio and TV spots, Flyers and Public talks. The campaign will also include provinces.
The TWC also noted that consultation with sectors such as Importers, Manufacturers and Distributors is very important for the success of this undertaking, therefore the TWC has already sent out notices for consultations through the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SICCI) with its members.
For those who import, manufacture and use single use plastics on a daily basis, this will be tough and so to allow for a smooth transition into a total ban of single use plastics for both businesses and individuals in the country, the implementation will be done in phases to allow for plastic stock already purchased to be dispensed with and minimise losses to the affected businesses in the transition to banning.