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AS-EPA fines stores using wrong plastic bags

reporters@samoanews.com

The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency is urging the public to continue reporting stores that are still using non biodegradable plastic bags.

That is the message from Nathan Mease, Assistant Attorney General and legal counsel for AS-EPA after three stores were fined $50 each for not complying with the banning of plastics bag law.

Speaking with Samoa News, Mease said these were the first stores penalized under the new law.

“Laufou Shopping Center, Gold Conda (Fagaima) and Ever Fortune (Nu’uuli) were still using plastic shopping bags after they had been warned on several occasions.

“After stop-orders and written warnings, however, these businesses kept on operating using the plastic bags that are banned — they just ignored the warnings”, said Mease.

He added there were reports from the public regarding the three stores not following the plastic bag law.

Mease went on to say that  AS-EPA officers issued three citations on December 5, 2011 to the three stores and on December 13, 2011 representatives from each store appeared before District Court.

“They entered guilty pleas to the citations they were issued”, said Mease.

Mease encourages the public to report any incidents and give the ASEPA leads on where and which stores are still using the non biodegradable plastic bags.

AS-EPA Enforcement Officers are conducting follow-up site visits to all business establishments that have been served with a Stop Order and they will issue citations if stores are not complying.

Aside from non biodegradable plastic bags that are banned, bags made with non petroleum based plastic, or recyclable bags made of cloth, canvas or other material are also banned. 

AS-EPA lawyer, Mease encourages all businesses to comply with the law to avoid any unnecessary fines.

American Samoa made national headlines when it passed the plastic bag ban statute, the first U.S. territory to do so, while also beating out U.S. states like California, who has yet to pass such a ban.



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