Twelve St James businesses charged for plastic ban breaches

ST JAMES, Jamaica – Twelve businesses in St James have been charged by the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for breaches under the NRCA’s (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order.

The charges, which will be heard in the St James Parish Court on October 5, were brought against the organisations because on varying days in September, the businesses were observed in possession of commercial quantities of drinking straws attached to juice or drink boxes and single-use plastic bags.

The plastic items were made wholly or in part of polyethylene or polypropylene plastic with dimensions 24x24 inches, with thickness less than 2.5 mils.

NEPA’s director of legal and enforcement, Morjorn Wallock, explained that the charges are coming out of Operation Restore Paradise, a collaborative effort amongst several government partners, which includes the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

She added that NEPA remains strident in its efforts to increase compliance with the ban on some single-use plastics and other environmental and planning laws.

Meanwhile, the public is being reminded that under the NRCA’s (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order, it is an offence to import, distribute or use single-use plastic bags with dimensions not exceeding 24 x24 inches and 2.5 ml in thickness.

The partial ban on single-use plastics also extends to plastic drinking straws, plastic straws affixed to box juices and drink pouches and the importation, manufacture, distribution, and use of expanded polystyrene foam products.

If one is found guilty for breaching the Order, they may be fined up to $50,000 and/or a term of imprisonment.

Breaches involving importation of single plastics will be prosecuted under the Trade (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order and if found guilty, the court may impose a maximum fine of $2 million and/or a term of imprisonment.

The public can report breaches to the Agency at 876-754-7540 or call the toll-free hotline at 888-991-9005 or by emailing policyonplasticsban@nepa.gov.jm.

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