Cabinet divergence over PNG plastic bag ban enforcement

10:53 am on 30 January 2016

The National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority or NAQIA is not the appropriate agency to oversee the ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags according to Papua New Guinea's Environment Minister.

Plastic bags.

Plastic bags. Photo: AFP

John Pundari's comment comes as PNG steps up efforts to phase in usage of biodegradable plastic bags, with companies and industries operating locally being told they must comply with the law or face prosecution.

However claims by Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll that NAQIA would be enforcing the ban are disputed by his cabinet colleague.

Mr Pundari said cross-department support is welcome, but he is not keen to see unnecessary duplication of efforts

"Whilst I find it very, very surprising to note that NAQIA wants to seriously engage themselves in providing approvals for the import of plastic bags. I would want to think that the Customs and any other agencies of the state wouldn't be able to recognise that."