As of next January, Jamaican retailers will be prohibited from using straws, Styrofoam, and plastic bags, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation said, after announcing plans to ban single-use plastics.
Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Jamaica will continue the anti-pollution movement promoted by over 60 nations around the world, the honorable Daryl Vaz said during a press conference Monday.
“Jamaica is literally inundated with all types of plastic,” Vaz told members of the media, explaining that the growing pollution problem in the Caribbean carries with it negative effects to both animal and human inhabitants.
After the initiative was originally proposed by Senator Matthew Samuda in the Upper House, with heavy consideration over the mismanagement of single-use items, the state elected to ban plastics at the macro-level.
“Since that time, a lot of work has been done, not only by the working group but also by the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA), the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) and the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) on this issue. The government has been having positive discussions with key stakeholders, including the JMEA, to arrive at a consensus on the measures to be implemented,” Vaz said.
The ban which encompasses imports, manufacture, and distribution, will not include a selection of products such as raw meats, flour, rice, sugar, and baked goods, for health and food safety precautions.
"Consumers are being encouraged to use reusable carrier bags, particularly by local enterprises," said Vaz, adding that manufacturers should investigate paper-based or environmentally friendly alternatives. The Development Bank of Jamaica and the EX-IM Bank will be available to support local business during the transition.
Retailers may apply for exemptions with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). These will be announced by January of 2021 and weighed on a case-by-case- basis.