Plastic bag surcharge welcomed

AN environmentalist has commended the Fuel Retailers Association in Fiji for implementing a nationwide surcharge on plastic bags at all convenience stores and service stations.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Forests said the association would introduce a 10 cent surcharge for single use plastic bags at 75 service stations from next month.

The Fiji based environmentalist, Adrian Midwood, said Fiji had had a plastic problem for decades.

He said he was pleased to see a surcharge being implemented as a deterrent.

“By directly hitting the pocket of the consumer I think we actually have a chance of minimising the plastic bags waste that’s going onto the beach which ends up in our oceans and affects our marine wildlife,” he said.

“They have been starting to use biodegradable additives in plastic means that means it is breaking down a lot quicker, but it doesn’t mean that they are actually compostable or plant-based and so the ingestion of these plastic bags is affecting marine life astronomically really.”

Mr Midwood, who is the director of Ocean Ambassadors, said the money collected from the surcharge on plastic bags would go into the government’s environment and climate change fund.