The St. Kitts and Nevis Government intends to ban, phase out, and replace various of single-use plastics, with the main focus on plastic bags, Styrofoam, and polystyrene which is the material that is used in appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, home insulation, and sometimes even stoves.
These products have a high negative environmental impact on oceans, landfills, and the overall environment.
Part of the problem is that styrofoam is almost impossible to recycle, especially in small islands, where the technology does not exist.
Many countries, including Haiti, have already banned the use of polystyrene containers for takeway hot, food,
The Ministry of Environment, Climate Action, and Constituency Empowerment recently launched a campaign to make residents aware of the pending legislation with the central message “Our Islands, Our Responsibility.”
This initiative, led by the Department of Environment (DoE), aims to eradicate the widespread use of single-use plastics, as much as possible before the new legislation comes into force next year.
Derionne Edmeade, Director of the DoE said local businesses have a crucial role to play in this transition of embracing biodegradable alternatives.
He said, “It is high time that supermarkets, shops, and restaurants reconsider their packaging choices. Every resident, from students to working professionals, can contribute significantly. It’s as simple as ditching single-use plastic bags in favor of reusable ones and refusing plastic straws at restaurants. Small adjustments, when adopted by all, lead to big changes.”
In a statement echoing the government’s commitment to sustainability and the renewed awareness campaign during Sustainability Month, Senator the Hon. Dr. Joyelle Clarke, the Federal Minister with responsibility for Environment, remarked:
“As we stride forward on our path towards becoming a Sustainable Island State, the decision to ban single-use plastics stands as a testament to our dedication. It is a pivotal moment in our journey, underscoring our resolve to protect our pristine beauty by promoting environmental conservation and biodiversity protection. The relaunch of our awareness campaign during Sustainability Month is a strategic move, serving as a reminder of our shared responsibility to preserve the very essence of our islands. By phasing out these harmful plastics, we pave the way for a cleaner, greener, and more resilient future – a future where our paradise remains unspoiled and vibrant.”
The DoE is a crucial arm of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Action and Constituency Empowerment with a clear mandate for environmental protection and pollution control.