PM points to long-term benefits from plastic, Styrofoam ban

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PM points to long-term benefits from plastic, Styrofoam ban

Monday, January 27, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the benefits to be derived from the ban on single-use plastics and polystyrene foam will materialise over the medium to long-term.

He noted that as the society adjusts to the measure, “you are going to see less plastics [and polystyrene] littering our communities and roads”.

“It is going to create opportunities for innovative business people to fill the demand [for alternatives],” Holness said.

The prime minister was speaking during the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) 15th Regional Investment and Capital Markets Seminar at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The ban on single-use plastics, implemented in January 2019, relates to the importation, manufacture and use of plastic bags of dimensions 24”x24” and thickness of 1.2 millimetres or less; and the importation, manufacture and use of plastic drinking straws, except those attached to juice boxes and tetrapaks as well as straws utilised by the medical sector and the disabled community.

Effective January 1, 2020, the Government imposed a ban on the local manufacture, distribution and use of expanded polystyrene foam products, commonly called styrofoam, which is utilised in the food and beverage industry.

The measures form part of broader initiatives aimed at safeguarding the environment.

Holness said there has been “incredible” public support for the ban.

“I see people coming out of the supermarkets and they are now carrying their (environmentally friendly) bags. Additionally, if they get a nice big plastic shopping bag from overseas they don't throw it away; they keep it and reuse it. So [persons] are finding alternatives,” he said.

He said there is also strong support for the Government's project targeting the planting of three million trees over the next three years, particularly from corporate stakeholders.

“Three million trees will not necessarily mark a massive increase in our reforestation effort, but it is a start. It will help to sequester carbon dioxide, restore some of our mangroves, stabilise some of our steep hillsides, and it will generally improve the aesthetics of the country. We invite all Jamaicans to join in that effort,” he said.

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