Jamaica News: Chief Executive Officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Peter Knight, is encouraging citizens to get in the habit of using alternatives to plastic, which he noted, is harmful to the environment.
He said that there are practical solutions to the material available on the market. “Reusable (cloth) bags are available in supermarkets as well as pharmacies. The regular food (paper) box is also becoming available,” he noted.
Mr. Knight was speaking at the monthly meeting of the St. James Municipal Corporation on Thursday (January 10), where he gave a presentation on the ban on single-use plastic bags and straws, as well as Styrofoam, which took effect on January 1, 2019.
The Government has ordered that, effective immediately, all stocks of single-use plastic bags of dimensions “24 x 24” and thickness of 1.2 mils or less, and disposable plastic straws be embargoed by manufacturers, importers and distributors.
“Those products that were in the retail trade, we have said we will allow those to be depleted and the thought is that those bags should be depleted by the end of this month,” Mr. Knight said.
He noted also that the full ban on Styrofoam will be implemented in January 2020 to allow for suppliers to use up the material they have in stock.
NEPA has established a hotline (876-285-8531) and email address ([email protected]) to provide information to the general public regarding the ban.
For his part, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis, said that the Corporation is in full support of the ban.
“We appreciate this initiative; there is no doubt that this is a long time coming because a lot of the environmental issues that we are having now are caused by plastics and Styrofoam,” he noted.
Montego Bay relies heavily on tourism and our beaches are very precious to us. We have seen the damage that those items (plastics and Styrofoam) have caused our shoreline,” the Mayor pointed out.
International Coastal Clean-up Day reports generated by NEPA show that plastics and polystyrene make up seven of the top-10 garbage items collected from the country’s coastlines and make up over 50 per cent of the total garbage weight collected.
Source: JIS News