Grenada is joining ranks with a host of other Caribbean Community, or Caricom, countries that have declared a ban on the use of Styrofoam products.
The government, led by Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, has set September as a deadline to ban all imports of the polystrene-based products. It's the initial step in a phased approach to eradicate Styrofoam altogether and reduce single-use plastics.
The Minister of Climate Resilience and the Environment, Simon Stiell, said at the end of the day there should be “zero Styrofoam across Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique."
Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting, Stiell pointed out that the ban is not being instituted arbitrarily, and that importers and other stakeholders are being consulted.
“Over the period, starting from September, the importation ban will prohibit more Styrofoam from being imported into the country; we have been discussing with importers what product they have coming into the country, what they have on order and what they have in inventory.”
The environment minister praised restaurants and stores that have “already transitioned to alternative products, and the stated timelines are agreed upon by both importers and government.”
Trace amounts of polystrene, which is used in the production of Styrofoam products, and other toxic additives seep into food and drinks that contact Styrofoam.
Also, polystrene, a contributor to air and water pollution, takes approximately 500 years to decompose in nature. Before doing so, the particles are often consumed by marine and land animals, which may cause blockage of their digestive system, choking and death, according to Naturally Savvy.