Government Senator, Matthew Samuda, is proposing that an environmental impact assessment study be undertaken to ascertain the effectiveness of the ban on certain categories of single-use plastics.
In an interview with JIS News on December 30, Senator Samuda said the study would look at how much plastics have been taken out of the island’s waste stream since the ban took effect last January as well as indicate whether further revision to the policy is needed.
However, Senator Samuda noted that from the Government’s perspective, the ban has already proven successful.
“Our takeaway is that we’ve reduced, significantly, the quantity of bags being used in the marketplace…virtually close to a 100 per cent compliance in most areas and we’re happy, because several tonnes of plastic bags [are] no longer going into your waste stream,” he said.
On January 1, 2019, a ban was placed on specific categories of single-use plastics.
The ban relates to the importation, manufacture and use of plastic bags of dimensions 24”x24” and thickness of 1.2 mil or less; the importation, manufacture and use of plastic drinking straws, except those attached to juice boxes and tetrapaks, as well as straws utilised by the medical sector and the disabled community; and the importation of expanded polystyrene foam (commonly called Styrofoam) used in the food and beverage industry.
Also, as of January 1, 2020, the Government imposed a ban on the local manufacture, distribution and use of expanded polystyrene foam products used in the food and beverage industry.
Prior to the ban, single-use plastics and expanded polystyrene foam accounted for four per cent of Jamaica’s non-biodegradable waste stream