Date: April 27th , 2018
Massy Stores must be commended for taking the lead in promoting zero tolerance for plastic bags.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes; at least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean; 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually and one in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs. Shopping giant Pricesmart’s No Plastic Bag initiative and repurposing cardboard boxes is a good example of our corporate sector implementing eco-friendly changes that have been successful. If the retail sector adopted a zero tolerance to plastic bags, one of the major problems of plastic pollution could be solved. Here in Trinidad and Tobago, there are no current policies in place to address the overuse or disposal of single use plastics.
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) continue to appeal to our Government to:
1. Issue a complete ban on single use plastics/including styrofoam, which could be implemented in phases.
2. Pass the two decade year old Beverage Containers Bill in Parliament, where our citizens can create wealth from waste.
Adding a monetary value to plastics can change our citizen plastic habits and curb plastic pollution and contamination. Despite the Government’s lack of policies in curbing plastic pollution, citizen responsibility is the key in protecting the environment. The onus in on you to act responsibly, to be more environmentally conscious and to be aware of your plastic habits. Adding a monetary value on these plastic bags will encourage our citizens to be more conscious of their usage and in turn their plastic addiction. In an effort to preserve the environment and human health, progressive countries within the region including Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Guyana have banned the import of single use plastic bags, banned styrofoam, and removed import tax on biodegradable packaging and food containers. Worldwide, developing countries such as Costa Rica, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, and Sao Paulo (Brazil) have also banned the use of plastic bags. Unless our Government modernise our society so as to protect human health and our environment, we will drift into unsustainable and self destruction. Further delaying the Beverage Containers Bill is depriving thousands of citizens from wealth creation and degrading our godly environment. Please Minister Camille Robinson Regis, what are you further delaying the Beverage Containers Bill?