SKN approves three-phased ban on single-use plastics

Senator the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – In an effort towards environmental conservation and sustainable development, the Federal Cabinet of St. Kitts and Nevis has unveiled plans for a phased ban on single-use plastics.

Senator the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, Minister of Environment, Climate Action, and Constituency Empowerment, announced this initiative during a session at the National Assembly on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, marking a pivotal moment in the nation’s environmental policy.

The ban will be implemented in three stages, targeting the importation, sale, and distribution of specific single-use plastic products.

The first phase, slated to commence on December 31, 2024, will see the prohibition of T-shirt plastic shopping bags’ importation, followed by a ban on their sale and distribution by March 31, 2025. The second phase will encompass a ban on importing Styrofoam food containers and plastic straws by April 30, 2025, with sales and distribution ceasing by July 31, 2025. Finally, the third phase will extend to the importation of single-use plastic cups, plates, and utensils by August 31, 2025, with these items phased out from sale and distribution by November 30, 2025.

This move aligns with similar initiatives undertaken by several Caribbean nations, including Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Eustatius, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Trinidad and Tobago, all of which have implemented bans on single-use plastics and Styrofoam.

Reflecting on the monumental decision, Dr. Clarke emphasized its profound implications for St. Kitts and Nevis’ environmental future.

“Tuesday, March 26, 2024, marks a significant milestone for environmental protection for St. Kitts and Nevis. This action is a testament to our unwavering commitment to protect our natural environment and foster a sustainable future for our nation,” Dr. Clarke asserted.

Furthermore, Dr. Clarke underscored the collective effort required for environmental stewardship, emphasizing the need for collaboration and policy adjustments across all sectors.

“I am compelled to remind every Kittitian and Nevisian that every small action collectively creates major movements in recycling, upcycling, and limiting the use of plastics,”

she noted, highlighting the role of individual contributions in driving positive change.

The initiative aligns with several United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including Good Health & Well-being, Clean Water & Sanitation, Sustainable Cities & Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life below Water, and Life on Land, underscoring its broader impact on global sustainability efforts.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ move places it among over 100 countries worldwide implementing full or partial bans on single-use plastics. Senator Clarke revealed that this policy serves as a precursor to the anticipated Environmental Protection Bill 2024, formerly known as the Restriction on Single-Use Plastic Bill, further solidifying the Federation’s commitment to environmental conservation.

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