Though it may seem difficult, “Make NO plastic bag is everyone’s business”.
This is the pitch coming from the Solomon Islands Climate Action Network (SICAN). SICAN is rooted in the networks of local civil society organizations, NGOs and the private sector.
Single use of plastic bags have become a phenomenal environmental and waste management issue in Honiara over the years.
“Our city which we are supposed to keep clean and tidy is eye-aching, and very unattractive for our visitors, our own residents and even the environment and health of our society,” says SICAN Coordinator, Gareth Quity from the Pacific Climate Change Collaboration Influencing & Learning (PACCCIL) Project.
The PACCCIL Project is funded by the Australian NGO Corporation Program and implemented through Oxfam in the Pacific. The establishment of SICAN is one of the project’s key activities ongoing in the Solomon Islands.
“Few years back there were efforts made to reduce plastics and resort to eco-tote bags, but it remains a mere action as it needs a collective and collaborative effort from various stakeholders from the government, private sector, NGOs and every individual,” explains Mr Quity.
“Whenever a plastic is bought, it is only used once and then it is disposed. However, most plastics are seen used for storing rubbish, waste food and diapers, thus increasing flies and attracting stray dogs and cats.”
The coordinator stressed the fact that plastics bags are increasingly polluting rivers, drainages, on the streets, by the roads and will always end up in the ocean.
“A scientific study revealed that tuna meat are infiltrated with micro-plastic, something that we cannot see, but we continue to consume. So if we continue to pollute our oceans with plastic, we are killing ourselves.”
SICAN is calling for a change in human attitude, actions and the social norm of using plastic bags.
“We have to stand for change in our society, and alternatives to Plastic Bag. If Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Samoa had banned plastic bag in the Pacific, why not Solomon Islands?
“We can do it by strengthening and putting in place specific ordinances or law on plastic bag.
“Let us all be responsible, by taking small steps at a time. For instance, carry eco-bags or shopping bags with you to shops or market.
“Avoid workshops and meetings with plastic bottled waters, avoid catering with plastic wrappers, and avoid using plastic plates and Styrofoam, cups and spoon for they only contribute to increasing plastic waste in our society.”
SICAN urges the public to join its Plastic Bag campaign in urgent efforts to reduce plastic as it contributes to environment and waste management issues, health risks, an impact to tourism and Climate Change.
In 2023, the country will host the South Pacific Games in Honiara and SICAN hopes it to be a memorable event, where athletes will appreciate that plastic bags are banned and Honiara is a plastic free and an environmental learning hub.
Source: Ernest Ta’asi
Oxfam Solomon Islands