National conversation on proposed ban on single-use plastics begins

DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Plastic shopping bags and other single-use plastics are to be phased out starting in three years as part of Guyana’s commitment to a greener planet.

The first in a series of national consultations on the proposed ban was today hosted by the Department of Environment (DOE) in keeping with the United Nations (UN) World Environment Day theme “Beating Plastic Pollution”.

Head of the DOE, Ndibi Schwiers said the ban would begin to be implemented within three years: “In three years’ time we will be able to as a country develop the kind of policy or plan to enable us to quickly transition from single-use plastics.”

The department has proposed to the Cabinet that the ban be imposed on the importation, manufacture and sale of single-use plastic bags and other single-use plastic products such as food containers. Single-use plastics are made from fossil fuels, leave a large carbon footprint and pollute the oceans, posing serious threats to marine life.

In light of these negative impacts, Stakeholder Management Co-ordinator, DOE, Aretha Forde proposed a number of initiatives aligned with the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) which can be done. These include the drafting of legislation, the development of standards and identification of alternatives, fiscal incentives for the private sector and the imposition of an environmental levy, to be implemented simultaneously.  A call was issued for the private sector and the general public to support these efforts.

Forde also urged citizens to help by taking shopping bags to the supermarkets, saying no to plastic straws, and carry reusable bottles and mugs.  The event featured a panel discussion which included, Executive Director (ag), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Kemraj Parsram, Official, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Kushana Archer, Executive member, Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Ramesh Dookhoo, President, Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society (GMTCS) Annette Arjoon- Martins, Director, Solid Waste Management, Mayor and City Council, Walter Narine, entrepreneur, Melissa Younge and Supermarket boss, Harry Mattai.

By: Stacy Carmichael.

Images: Jameel Mohamed.

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