Jamaica Bans Plastic Lunch Boxes.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash Plastic waste is an ongoing problem on Caribbean beaches, but Jamaica is tackling the problem.
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Jamaica is banning plastic lunch boxes amd personal care products and the target date for Jamaica’s  ban on plastic products with microplastic beads is June 1st, 2024.

That is what was announced by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, during his presentation in the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate, on January 19.

“We have taken the lesson of the first round of the plastic ban as it relates to public education and need to give sufficient lead time,” the Minister said.

Additionally, he said the development of a national policy on the environmental sound management of single use plastic products is to be done this coming fiscal year.

“The Most Hon. Prime Minister has also announced, already, ahead of his Budget Debate, that he has directed that a programme aimed at the separation of plastics and other recyclables in the ministries, departments and agencies commence this fiscal year,” the Minister said.

Senator Samuda informed that Jamaica currently collects more than 30 per cent of the plastic bottles produced monthly.

“We commend the NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) and Recycling Partners of Jamaica, who have achieved this up from eight per cent three years ago,” he said.

“We are in a race against time to ensure that we improve our waste management target, and one of the ways… is to ensure we extract plastic waste from the waste stream. We will continue to work with stakeholders to determine the appropriate legislation necessary to achieve our goal. Our goal is not less than 70 per cent of all plastic being produced monthly to be collected and recycled for the benefit of Jamaica,” Senator Samuda added.

Meanwhile, he informed that Jamaica is actively participating in negotiations for a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

“In essence, the Paris Agreement relates to pollution and specifically plastic. Now, we don’t know where those negotiations will end up. We obviously have some insight as to where they are, but it is our intention in Jamaica to make sure that whenever that is agreed, we are ahead of targets and able to sign and ratify almost immediately once that is agreed,” the Minister said.

He added that the fight to halt biodiversity loss and to tame pollution will be underpinned this year by a significant increase of fines both in the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and Wildlife Protection Acts.

He said additional details will be provided by Prime Minister Holness in his Budget Debate presentation.

Furthermore, he said the Government, through the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, is currently pursuing amendments to several pieces of subsidiary legislation under the NRCA Act, namely: the Air Quality Regulations, and the Wastewater and Sludge Regulations.

Also, he said the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation will be working with its agencies, including the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), in the promulgation of the outstanding Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations under the NRCA Act in the 2024/25 fiscal year.

Source: Jamaica Government Press Release.
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