M&CC supports ban on single-use plastics


  • Single-use plastics contributing to $30M disposal cost

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Solid waste disposal is costing the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) some $30Million monthly and according to Public Relations Officer, Debra Lewis the ban on single-use plastics will reduce this cost significantly.

During an exclusive interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) today, Lewis said apart from its harmful effects on the environment, single-use plastics that make their way into the drains, sometimes get trapped in the propellers of tractors.

Repairs, along with cleaning and desilting costs, Lewis said are unnecessary expenses for the Council.

Director, Solid Waste Management, Walter Narine echoed similar sentiments. He noted that some 180 tonnes of solid waste is generated daily from Georgetown alone, with an approximate 11 tonnes or 7 percent comprising single-use plastics.

This, he said, is a major challenge to the collection of garbage since the plastics, despite being lightweight, are bulky.

“We know that some of the single-use plastics take 450 to 700 to sometimes 1,000 years to decompose in the ground where we bury them…we fully support the move by the Government towards the potential ban on these items,” Narine said.

The use of biodegradable bags, reusable containers and the elimination of the use of straws is a simple step. In this regard, Narine is encouraging Guyanese to take this step, as the country prepares for the ban on single-use plastics.

The solid waste manager added that one straw takes some 700 years to decompose. He pointed to another alarming fact that when the plastics break down, the harmful chemicals, which they are made of, leach in the soil and make their way into the waterways.

This is not only an environmental hazard but health risk, as the chemicals make its way into the water table.

“We have to preserve our environment for future generations and we should not contribute to destroying it, more than it is already destroyed,” Narine stressed.

The M&CC will soon embark on an initiative that will see the recycling of rice bags which will subsequently be distributed free of cost to citizens in the capital city.

By: Stacy Carmichael.

Images: Keno George.