JAMAICA-Jamaica to ban plastic lunch boxes starting June 1

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – The target date for the ban on plastic lunch boxes and personal care products with microplastic beads is June 1.

This was announced by the Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda, during his presentation in the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on Friday.

“We have taken the lesson of the first round of the plastic ban as it relates to public education and need to give sufficient lead time,” said Samuda.

Additionally, he said developing a national policy on the environmentally sound management of single-use plastic products is to be done this coming fiscal year.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness noted that a program to separate plastics and other recyclables in the ministries, departments, and agencies should commence this fiscal year.

Samuda informed that Jamaica currently collects more than 30 percent of the plastic bottles produced monthly.

“We commend the NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) and Recycling Partners of Jamaica, who have achieved this up from eight percent three years ago,” he said.

“We are in a race against time to ensure that we improve our waste management target, and one way… is to extract plastic waste from the waste stream. We will continue working with stakeholders to determine the legislation necessary to achieve our goal. Our goal is not less than 70 percent of all plastic being produced monthly to be collected and recycled for the benefit of Jamaica,” Samuda added.

He also said that Jamaica is actively participating in negotiations for a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

“In essence, the Paris Agreement relates to pollution and specifically plastic. Now, we don’t know where those negotiations will end up. We have some insight as to where they are. Still, it is our intention in Jamaica to make sure that whenever that is agreed, we are ahead of targets and able to sign and ratify almost immediately once that is agreed,” Samuda said.

He added that the fight to halt biodiversity loss and tame pollution will be underpinned this year by a significant increase in fines in the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and Wildlife Protection Acts.

He said the Prime Minister will provide additional details in his Budget Debate presentation.

Furthermore, he said the Government, through the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, is pursuing amendments to several pieces of subsidiary legislation under the NRCA Act: the Air Quality Regulations and the Wastewater and Sludge Regulations.

According to Samuda, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation will be working with its agencies, including the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), in the promulgation of the outstanding Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations under the NRCA Act in the 2024/25 fiscal year.

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