Cabinet to consider proposal to ban single-use plastics

Part of the Earth Day exhibition at the Baridi Benab at State House (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Monday announced that the Department of the Environment (DoE) is working on a proposal which includes a ban on single-use plastics in Guyana.

A release from the Ministry of the Presidency said that this type of plastic is made of low-density polyethylene, which does not break easily and is, therefore, not easily recycled and does not break down. The proposal will be engaging the attention of Cabinet soon. Speaking at an event at the Baridi Benab at State House to mark Earth Day, the Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to protecting the environment.

“In January 2017, the Administration tabled and passed in the National Assembly, an amendment to the Customs Act, which stipulates that importers of plastic containers must pay an environmental levy to the Guyana Revenue Authority.

This levy was not primarily a revenue collection initiative, but a measure to encourage recycling of plastic and to reduce its use,” the Minister said.  He added that earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked with some of the major supermarkets in the City to minimise the use of plastic bags. Harmon said that this initiative will see supermarkets switching to boxes and reusable and biodegradable bags. He said that the management of these businesses has also undertaken to find ways to encourage their customers to take along shopping bags instead of relying on plastic. Some of the participating businesses include: Bounty Supermarket, N&S Mattai’s Supermarket, Survival Supermarket, Budget Supermarket, Distribution Services Limited (DSL) and Massy Stores Supermarket.

Harmon used the forum to appeal to Guyanese to minimise, if not eliminate, the use of single-use plastic bags. Similar sentiments were expressed by Minister of Business with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin, who said that reduction and/or elimination of plastic waste by 2020, is something that Guyana can and should accomplish.

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