Ocean management council supports plastic ban, calls for suitable alternatives

Friday, September 21, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The National Council on Ocean and Coastal Zone Management (NCOCZM), while expressing full support for the Government's recent announcement of the imminent ban on single use plastic bags, straws and styrofoam, says there is a need to find suitable alternatives to the banned products as well as the initiation of a robust public campaign.

According to a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, it is estimated that worldwide, over 350 million metric tonnes of plastic material is produced each year and 10 million end up in the ocean.

“This contributes greatly to the declining health of the ocean and its resources. Scientists predict that by 2030, there will more plastic than fish in the ocean,” the release said.

In light of these statistics and the recent announcement, the council is urging the relevant authorities to act speedily to assist consumers, bearing in mind that a healthy, productive and resilient ocean is critical for the country's economic development

The council also noted that it has committed to assisting with the public education campaign and has designated council member, Professor Mona Webber, Director for the Centre of Marine Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Mona, to act as an ambassador to help educate the public on the science behind plastic pollution and its impact on the health of the oceans and mankind.

It said it further looks forward to the Government's adoption of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), UWI proposal of the Deposit Refund Scheme which will see a surcharge on plastic bottle products when purchased and a rebate when it is returned.

Against the background of current events, the council called on Jamaicans to “reduce, reuse and recycle so that we can effectively protect and preserve the ocean which is the common heritage of mankind”.

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