Ban on the use of plastic items

plastic items
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

Proposed ban on the use of plastic items for cabinet’s consideration.

A proposed plan that could affect a ban on the use of plastic items will be presented to Cabinet for its consideration; a move that is supported by the Department of Environment.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon made the disclosure today while addressing the Ministry of the Presidency’s Department of Environment’s Earth Day celebrations at State House.

We would have introduced to cabinet a memorandum prepared by the Department of the Environment, which Cabinet will consider seriously. It a very solid piece of document, a very solid memorandum.”

Minister Harmon, who also has responsibility for the environment, said he has already asked the Department of Environment to have the technical officers be present at that cabinet session to properly explain the measures proposed to ban plastic.

The department’s head, Ndibi Schwiers said the document is a simple draft that is seeking to reduce on a short-term basis, the importation of the single-use of plastic items. It is hoped that by 2020 there will be a complete ban on the product.

Earth Day 2018 is being celebrated under the theme “end plastic pollution”. Data from the day’s proceeding showed that nearly two million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute. One million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world. That number is expected to top a trillion by the end of 2021.

One million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals are killed every year from the ingestion of plastics in the ocean.

Attendees
Attendees at the event at State House today
“Free Souls” dance group
Members of the “Free Souls” dance group performs Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song”

According to Minister Harmon, plastic remains a useful material. However, it is also responsible for the degradation of the earth.

As part of the government’s commitment to care for the earth and preserve its eco-systems, Minister Harmon said several measures have has been implemented to curtail the use of plastic receptacles in Guyana. In January of last year, the administration had tabled and passed an amendment to the Customs Act, which stipulated that importers of plastic containers pay an environmental levy to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The levy was not a revenue collection initiative, but a measure to encourage the recycling and reduction of the use of plastics.

Speaking also at the event today, Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin said the use of plastic bags must be addressed with urgency.

“Guyana has a big problem with single-use plastic items and this needs to be addressed with urgency if Guyana is to become the green state that we all look forward to.”

Minister Gaskin observed that there needs to be a long-term solution to address the issue of plastic pollution in the country, so that “we can be green and clean again”.