HAGÅTÑA, 19 FEBRUARY 2018 (MARIANAS VARIETY) —- Shoppers would be charged a fee of 25 cents per plastic bag under a bill that seeks to gradually phase out the use of plastic bags in Guam.
Retailers and restaurants would be prohibited from distributing disposable plastic bags unless the customer pays the 25-cent fee. Violations are subject to a fine of US$500 for a first offense, and US$1,000 for repeat violations.
Introduced by Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee, Bill 242-34, also proposes to tax businesses 10 cents per plastic bag imported to Guam.
If the bill is enacted into law, the plastic-bag tax would roll into effect on 01 April and would be lifted on 01 October, when a full ban takes effect.
“It would be advantageous for Guam to be seen as taking steps to protect our island as the environment plays a significant role in our tourism industry,” the bill states, noting that several countries and neighboring islands have already banned the use of plastic bags.
In the CNMI, a plastic-bag ban is awaiting Senate action.
Late last year, Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. signed a bill that bans stores and other retail establishments from distributing plastic bags to customers.
Palau is the latest entry on a growing list of Pacific island countries and territories to step up the battle against plastic bags. Plastic bags are also banned in American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Yap and Vanuatu.
It isn’t the first time a plastic-bag ban has been proposed on Guam.
In 2014, then-Sen. Aline Yamashita introduced a bill that would have banned plastic bags by January 2015. The bill didn’t make it to the voting file.
According to the Recycling Association of Guam, the industry standard is 500 plastic bags per person per year. It is assumed that approximately 80,000,000 plastic bags are used annually by Guam’s population of approximately 160,000…..PACNEWS [/restrict]