July 1, 2016
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) in partnership with key stakeholders launched a public education initiative to encourage the use of re-usable plastic bags as opposed to single use ones.
The initiative was officially launched on Friday, July 1 with the unveiling of a large plastic monster, made of single-use plastic bags, reflecting the world’s ever growing consumerism and waste management problems. Plastic bags are non-biodegradable, and are estimated to make up 80 per cent of marine litter as well as causing the death of over 100,000 marine animals every year according to the International Plastic Bag Free Day website.
Dr. Kerrine Senior, Manager in the Pollution Prevention Branch, said that the time was right for Jamaica to develop and pursue a strategic plan of action to tackle this negative environmental impact. “This should be a central feature of the country’s sustainable development path,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Agency has garnered the support of key partners such as local supermarkets and retail stores including Progressive Grocers of Jamaica Limited, John R Wong Supermarket, Lee’s Food Fair and Family Pharmacy, Everybody’s Pharmacy and Nelsons Pharmacy. These outlets will be offering alternatives such as cardboard boxes and reusable bags to replace single-use plastic bags on the weekend of July 1-3. The distribution of these alternatives will coincide with the celebration of International Plastic Bag Free Day, over that weekend.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has also endorsed the initiative. Other partners include: Respect Jamaica; Jamaica Environment Trust and Recycling Partners of Jamaica Limited.