11 Jun 2019

Cook Islands moves to ban single-use plastic

12:40 pm on 11 June 2019

A Bill banning single use plastics is set to go before the Cook Islands Parliament before the end of the year.

A torn plastic bag drifts over a tropical coral reef causing a hazard to marine life such as turtles.

Photo: 123RF

The policy was drafted by Infrastructure Cook Islands and has been approved by Cabinet for inclusion in the Solid and Hazardous Waste Bill due to be tabled by Christmas.

The ban will include lightweight plastic shopping bags and other plastic products like straws, cutlery, containers, plates, cups and polystyrene containers as well as products containing plastic microbeads.

Diane Charlie-Puna, from Infrastructure Cook Islands, said the country couldn't continue ignoring the effects of plastic pollution on the food chain, health and the serious plastic issue in the ocean as well as the burden of non-biodegradable waste littering islands and filling landfills.

She said proper waste management started at the point of production or for the Cook Islands case, the point of entry.

Ms Charlie-Puna said with readily available alternatives, there was now no excuse.

"This is a great milestone for us as a country and one that we should be proud of."

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