Paulina Quintao – The Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Timor-Leste (CCI-TL) Kathleen Goncalves said entrepreneurs have discussed among themselves about looking for alternatives to reduce the use of single-use plastics towards resolving the growing plastic waste problem throughout the country.
She said CCI-TL is sharing information about the negative impact of plastic waste to the environment and to public health so communities become more aware and limit the use of plastic.
"We are trying to look for some alternatives to plastic use. We have been able to reduce some use but not totally," she said from her office, at Acait, in Dili.
She acknowledged that adequate raising of awareness on the impact of plastic to entrepreneurs and society needs to be strengthened so everyone has the correct knowledge on the issue.
She added that some countries have banned communities from using plastic as it impacts on the environment and Timor-Leste needs to develop a similar policy that bans the single-use of plastic in the country.
She said if the government believes plastic use has a bad impact on the environment and can harm people's health it should create a law that addresses this issue.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Suku of Kaikoli Hipolito Marques said to address the issue, Timor-Leste need a strong law that imposes sanctions on those throwing rubbish arbitrarily, including plastic waste.
He said another alternative is for the government to invite companies that invest in plastic waste recycling.
"I think it is up each one of us also buying things and shopping in the market, to always dispose of plastic in rubbish bins," he said.
He said it is good to make a law, but for the immediate term, everyone needs to be conscious about disposing of rubbish appropriately.
On the other hand, the Program Manager for Community Tourism at Haburas Foundation, Pedrito Viera said the government should be creative and look at different ways to manage the waste issue in the country and especially in Dili.
"I think the citizens who live in Dili should be able to pay a tax on waste so we can use the existing resource to support waste management actions," he said.
He added paying tax on waste is the issue the government needs to consider, towards creating a law that regulates waste disposal and management.