Single-use plastics will be officially banned in The Bahamas by 2020. The announced was revealed by Environment Minister Romauld Ferreiraon Monday.
Single-use plastics have absolutely devastated marine environments as it is predicted that plastic in the ocean will outweigh all fish by 2050 and approximately 100,000 marine animals are found dead every year due to plastic. The decision is extremely important particularly on smaller islands like the Bahamas where there is a very good chance the plastic ends up in the ocean.
The ban will include items such as plastic bags, straws, Styrofoam containers, plastic utensils and the release of plastic balloons into the air.
The announcement came ahead of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) executives.
The MOU is said to signify the Ministry of the Environment’s commitment to work hand-in-hand- with the chamber, to ensure that the single use plastics ban is introduced without a strain on the local business community.
In the statement Ferreira said, “We will work to develop a phase out plan for single use plastics. My ministry, alongside the BCCEC, housing, will embark on a national public consultation and educational outreach campaign. We will visit communities and schools, hold town hall meetings and meet with businesses to gather valuable data that will assist in developing a fair and reasonable phase out plan by 2020.”
“We must address the type of waste we dispose of daily, by reducing or eliminating harmful waste streams. These efforts will move The Bahamas one step closer to having an efficient and sustainable waste management system.”
“The release of balloons in the air eventually ends up in our oceans. They subsequently release toxins and injure marine life. When fish digest these harmful plastics, these are the same fish we end up eating. So, we are not only destroying our environment with these plastics, but we are also causing grave health problems for ourselves as well,” said Ferreira.
“We will also sign onto the clean seas campaign which was launched January 2017 by the United Nations (UN) environment program, which aims to increase global awareness about the need to reduce marine litter by engaging government and private sectors and the general public.”