An article published on October 22, 2016 in The Cleaner reports that a long-running debate regarding the potential ban on plastic and styrofoam containers, particularly those used for food packaging, has been recently re-opened in Jamaica. In his motion to the Senate, government senator Matthew Samuda called attention to the environmental harm of plastic and styrofoam litter, and proposed that such products be banned. A similar legislation has already been introduced in Bangladesh in 2002 after severe floods occurring because waterways and sewers got clogged by plastic litter.

The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) supports Samuda’s motion, partially because Jamaican beaches, one of the main tourists’ attractions in Jamaica, “have become dumping grounds for all manner of disposables, including food containers, cups, bottles, and boxes,” and urgent action is needed to clean them up.

Plastic manufacturers, retailers and restaurateurs are, on the other hand, critical of the ban proposal, and point out that “introducing paper is more expensive.” In response to this, Samuda argued in the Senate that “the long-term cost of not removing these items from our waste stream is far greater. It impacts generations to come.” Of note, Wisynco, Jamaica’s largest producer of styrofoam-based articles, has announced plans to introduce decomposition-promoting enzymes into its products.

The article concludes that “the plastic scourge has to be fought on many different fronts via public education, lobbying, and legislation.”

Read more

The Cleaner (October 22, 2016). “Editorial | Tackling scourge of Styrofoam, plastic.