By: L.N. Reklai
August 4, 2017 (Ngerulmud, Palau) House of Delegates passed a bill to ban importation and distribution of plastic bags and to authorize public education on the destructive effects of plastic on its 3rd and final reading HB 10-37-2,HD1 yesterday.
The bill is set to take effect within two years upon it becoming a law and set a fine of $1,000 per day for violation of the law.
The bill only addresses plastic bags used by retail industry to bag goods for customers that are not designed for multiple uses.
This does not include plastic bags used to contain or wrap frozen food or other items to contain dampness, or bags used for catering, bakery or beverages, bags used for dry cleaning, including plastic bags provided by hotels for guests to contain wet or dirty clothes.
It also does not include garbage bags, or bags used to contain live animals.
The bill tasks Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce, Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism as well as Ministry of Education and Palau Community College to educate public on the destructive effects of plastic use as well as ways to reduce dependency on plastic.
“Plastic bags are in heavy use within the Republic of Palau and cause great harm to our oceans and land when discarded and left decompose. The heavy use of these plastic bags in Palau is inconsistent with “Pristine Paradise Palau”, stated part of the legislative findings in the bill. [/restrict]