Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 07, 2020 (SKNIS): Plastics are putting a strain on waste management systems, our oceans, and vulnerable communities. Against this backdrop, the Department of Environment is pushing to ban single-use plastics in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The Department of Environment submitted a proposal to the Members of Cabinet to impose a ban on plastics. This ban will take place in a three-phased approach over a period of five years. A phased approach means that the ban won’t be immediate or abrupt as it will take place in phases,” said Vicia Woods, Biosafety Officer in the Department of Environment during her July 06 appearance on the Ministry of Tourism’s Plastic Free July Panel Discussion on ZIZ Television.
The first phase will include public awareness and education outreach followed by a ban on importation.
“So, in this way suppliers will be able to use whatever they have in stock, but they will no longer be allowed to import. And then, later on, there will be a ban on the sales and distribution of plastics,” she said. “Although the legislation has not been passed as yet, the Department of Environment has taken it upon themselves to start with the public awareness and education outreach. Late last year into this year, we conducted a survey just to get the public’s reaction and get the attention to this issue that we are trying to raise.”
Ms. Woods said that once the legislation is passed the first item on the agenda would be to ban the use of plastic straws.
“One of the first items we are seeking to ban is plastic straws because as small as they may be they cause a significant threat to life, especially marine life,” she said while commending the private sector for personally banning plastic straws within their businesses, “Even without this ban, restaurants and bars are already moving towards the paper straws, so that is a good initiative on the private sector.”
The Biosafety Officer also commended those who took the initiative to purchase their own stainless steel metal straws, noting that these straws can be used multiple times.
Single-use plastics are described as plastics that are meant to be discarded of immediately after use. Such include plastic straws, styrofoam containers and food wrappers to name a few.