28 May 2019

Plastic bag scam cleaning up Solomons capital

6:53 pm on 28 May 2019

Hundreds of residents in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara have been collecting plastic bags to sell to a mysterious buyer who supposedly turns the plastic waste into fuel.

View towards Point Cruz and the Port of Honiara.

View towards Point Cruz and the Port of Honiara. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

News of the supposed initiative started a few weeks ago and has spread via social media with more and more people each day going around the capital with large plastic bottles stuffed full of bags searching for a buyer.

An administrator on the Facebook page Yumi Tok Tok, Benjamin Afuga, has been investigating the story and said no one he has spoken to has met the buyer who is purportedly paying $US12 per plastic bag filled bottle.

He believes the huge reaction to the rumour is a reflection of the harsh economic realities of life in the capital.

"This thing that is happening right now in the city is a message to our leaders that people are struggling to make ends meet. What I saw yesterday is that even some students who are in their school uniforms are standing around in their school uniforms with some bottles.

"And I would like to challenge the government to really implement the plans that they have for our people so that people are engaged in something for them to earn money."

Mr Afuga said one positive outcome of what he is calling the "plastic bag revolution" is that the streets of the City are being cleaned up at a phenomenal rate.

Police said they are closely monitoring the situation, but say there is no law against people picking up plastic rubbish.

They are more concerned about the potential for the trend to turn into a security issue if those invested in the process figure out they have been duped.