A regulation to ban single-use plastics in the Solomon Islands will come into force today 01 September 2023.
This ban prohibits the importation, manufacturing, distribution, sale and general use of single-use plastics.
Chief Environment Officer within the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Wendy Beti confirmed this to SIBC News in an interview.
A joint Technical Working Committee led by the Ministry with the Attorney Generals Chamber has been working on the development of the regulation.
Prior to the proposed ban date, consultations have also been conducted with importers, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers and users in Honiara and the provinces.
This was done to give enough time for importers and users of single-use plastics to adjust to the new regulation.
Beti explains that the regulation will be carried out in a phase-out approach to support with the adjustment.
“There will be exemptions under this regulation, a 6-month grace period, to allow businesses who have already placed orders before the proposed ban date to get their products into the country even after the ban date. During this period, importers must provide proof of order if required by authorities for verification.”
“For the manufacturing, distribution, sale, or supply of these banned items, it will also be allowed during this period. This is to give ample time for importers and users to use up the items. After the lapse of the grace period then penalties will apply for those going against the regulation,” she said.
She adds that five categories of single-use plastic products are to be banned under this regulation.
“The importation, manufacturing, distribution, sale, and general use of these categories of single-use plastics will be banned once this regulation is gazetted. These include plastic shopping bags, plastic straws, plastic disposable cups, plates, and cutlery’s, polystyrene foam plates and cups, and water bottles that are less than 1.5 Liters.”
SIBC News understands the proposed ban is part of the Ministry of Environment’s efforts to address plastic waste output throughout the country.
The Environment Ministry strongly encourages the public to follow the regulations and help put a stop to plastic pollution.