GOVERNMENT TO BAN STYROFOAM IN ANTIGUA
Seven months after the successful implementation of the ban on T-Shirt plastic bags, the Ministry of Health and the Environment has signaled its intention to get rid of another product that poses danger to the environment.
In a meeting with a number of stakeholders yesterday (Tuesday), Health and the Environment Minister, Molwyn Joseph announced that Government has officially initiated discussions on its intentions to discontinue the use of Styrofoam products, including cups, plates, coolers, containers and bowls etc in the twin island state.
While addressing the gathering at the Environment Division at Botanical Gardens, Minister Joseph said that the Gaston Browne Administration remains committed to protecting the environment for present and future generations.
While noting that the process is one which requires proper research and planning so as not to jeopardize local businesses, he forcefully stated that the opposition of a chosen few will not deter him from promoting the country’s interests where matters of the environment are concerned.
Minister Joseph stressed that it is high time for people to recognize that the onus is on them to take up the mantle and join the fight for what is right.
“Instead of spending two dollars and fifty cents in doing something that will save the environment, they would go to the store and make all kinds of noise but I am not going to be genuflecting to these kind of people every time. It’s time for us to stand up and tell them that they have a responsibility to their country and to themselves to make the right decision”, Minister Joseph noted.
The Environment Minister also received widespread support from the stakeholders in this venture.
They were highly cognizant of the view that the initiative is timely, but noted that vigilance must be exercised on how the process is planned and implemented.
In this regard, Minister Joseph assigned responsibilities for the setting up of a technical committee to lead the initiative in consultation with him.
Discussion on the most favourable substitutes for replacement of these Styrofoam products will be among the top agenda items for this committee.
Minister Joseph also assured the stakeholders that tax on importation of alternative products will be waived when the initiative is officially implemented.
Among the distributors, wholesalers and business owners in attendance at the function were Dave Soogrin of Mega-Distributors, Stanley Yang of Delightful Restaurant, Lyndon Smart of Little Canton Supermarket as well as Michael Friend and Sasha Mercer of Epicurean Fine Foods.
Present as well were Joyce Andrew of Chase Distributors, Victor Michael of First Choice Supermarket, Bargain Centre’s Raydee Matthew and Marvin Geno Gore from Gore Global Group Inc.
Gore, who is his company’s CEO, disclosed that they are standing firm with the government and are ready to aid in the fight against harmful pollutants.
“We think that it is something that is going to have a very positive impact on our society and environment as a whole and we stand fully committed to facilitate the Government in their endeavour, in not only the ban on Styrofoam but the other harmful pollutants that we have now in our environment that have an adverse effect on our population”, Gore said.
On the first of January 2016, the Government has implemented a ban on the importation of the commercial t-shirt plastic bags while a total ban on its use was effected six months later, 1st July in larger supermarkets.
Total ban on the use of same in the smaller business establishments is being fully enforced.