POND ISLAND--Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Stuart Johnson has called for the revival of “serious discussions in Parliament” on placing a ban on single-use plastic bags as brought forward by Parliament Chairwoman Sarah Wescot-Williams in 2018. His calls coincided with World Oceans Day on June 8.
Wescot-Williams presented a proposal to Parliament to amend the General Police Ordinance to prohibit the use of single-use plastic bags. A similar approach was used by Aruba in 2017.
Nature Foundation also called for a ban in February by urging Parliament to act decisively to protect the environment by adopting the Wescot-Williams proposal.
The ban must be supported by community awareness and education programmes, as single-use plastics and Styrofoam are significant contributors to land and sea pollution, said Johnson. This “will require everyone's input to bring about real changes.”
The plastic problem “is too close to home for us to delay taking action” especially as a tourism-based economy,” Johnson said. “Both residents and visitors benefit from our fisheries, pristine waters for swimming, snorkelling, diving, and white coral sand beaches for sunbathing, and therefore, everyone has a responsibility to protect our ocean.”
Several local businesses have taken steps to eliminate plastic straws and other related products to reduce their footprint on the environment.