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Per Public Law 21-76, One-Time-Use Disposable Styrofoam & Plastic Food Service Items Prohibited from Importation into the FSM Beginning July 1st, 2020; Such Items Already in the FSM Can Still Be Used
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On June 30th, 2020 His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), signed emergency regulations governing the prohibition on the importation of one-time-use disposable Styrofoam, plastic food service items, and plastic shopping bags. Per Public Law 21-76, it shall be unlawful for these goods to be imported into the FSM from July 1st, 2020. However, this law and its regulations do NOT make it unlawful for stocks of these items already in the country to be used unless a given FSM State already has applicable laws regarding such.
The importation of the following items is now prohibited: one-time-use disposable Styrofoam; plastic disposable straws; plastic food service items, including plastic cups that are not reusable; and plastic shopping bags. Goods that are prohibited from importation shall be subject to seizure.
Not all one-time-use plastic items are banned in Public Law 21-76, some of which it is the intention of the FSM National Government to keep as exempted categories and others of which it is the intention of the Executive Branch to collaborate with the 21st FSM Congress to eventually prohibit.
An example of products that are NOT prohibited from importation, with the intention to keep exempt, include produce bags (i.e. the plastic bags intended to keep meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables fresh and separate from other grocery items). The importer has the burden of proving that products being imported are exempted.
An example of products that are NOT prohibited from importation, but the Executive Branch intends to make prohibited before the conclusion of the Panuelo-George administration, are one-time-use plastic water bottles.
“Public Law 21-76 makes it unlawful to import Styrofoam and one-time-use plastic items,” President Panuelo said in a statement. “Starting July 1st, 2020, no person or organization can bring one-time-use Styrofoam, plastic straws, plastic food service items like cups, plates, and cutlery, or shopping bags into the FSM. But if your business still has some of these in stock or being sold or otherwise used, this National law does not stop you from using these items or from selling them. The FSM’s States have jurisdiction over their use within their borders.”
The President further repeated his comments from February 2020, when Public Law 21-76 was adopted. “The intention of the law is to keep our Nation clean and free of non-biodegradable objects that harm our environment and way of life. I encourage all citizens to be stewards of our islands. We are, each of us, guardians of our environment. It should be taught in schools, in community houses, and in homes that our actions as individuals affect our broader society, and each of us has the responsibility to keep our homes and our islands clean,” the President said.
Emergency regulations are only lawful for up to one hundred and twenty (120) days, and must be superseded by permanent regulations that are subject to public scrutiny and review prior to their adoption. The FSM National Government invites the Nation’s citizens to comment in writing on the emergency regulations, and may do so by addressing the Honorable Andrew Yatilman, Secretary of the Department of Environment, Climate Change, & Emergency Management. The emergency regulations may be found here: https://gov.fm/files/Plastic_Regulation.pdf