Kingston, March 7, 2019:
The Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr Wayne Henry, on March 4, 2019, made a presentation to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) indicating the PIOJ’s commitment to support NEPA’s Plastic Waste Minimisation Project which includes promoting the replacement of one-use household plastic containers such as plastic grocery bags. Dr Henry also gave the PIOJ’s commitment to donate 500 shopping bags to the office of Senator Matthew Samuda for public education efforts there. Senator Samuda had moved a private members motion to ban the importation of certain categories of plastic products two years ago.
The announcement is a part of the Vision 2030 Jamaica corporate social responsibility campaign, Beating Plastic Pollution to support consumers as they move away from items which now fall under the ban on the importation and distribution of polystyrene products.
On January 1, 2019, two ministerial orders: one under the Trade Act and the other under the Natural Resources and Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act make it illegal to import expanded polystyrene products, distribute or import plastic bags 24” x 24” or less in size and plastic drinking straws. The ministerial orders arose from recommendations from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation’s Multi-Stakeholder Working Group on Plastic Packaging Materials, which were considered by Cabinet in January 2018, a year before the ban took effect.
The 2017 Economic and Social Survey Jamaica, published by the PIOJ, notes that more than 96 per cent of items collected during the 2017 coastal clean-up day were plastic and foam; 4.24 per cent collected were plastic bags. The 2017 data on the plastics collected in National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) wastesheds indicate that plastics accounted for 13.63 per cent in the North Eastern wasteshed (Portland to St Ann, St Mary); 15 per cent in the Retirement wasteshed (Trelawny, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland); 17 per cent in the Riverton wasteshed (St Catherine, Kingston, St Andrew and includes Chuch Corner St Thomas); and 26 per cent in the Southern wasteshed (St Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon).
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