7 Caribbean countries are banning single-use plastics (America)
Updated: Jan 6, 2020
Starting January 1, 2020 7 Caribbean coutnries have decided to ban single-use plastics. The countries are the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, the Yucatan Times reported.
Each of those countries are coastal, located all around the Caribbean sea. Ocean plastic is a mounting issue, negatively impacting marine life, underwater ecosystems, the climate, and more — so these nations reducing single-use plastic could make a significant difference on ocean pollution.
The new law is part of the Bahamas Environmental Protection Act 2019, according to the Yucatan Times. It's unclear exactly what forms of single-use plastic will be included as part of the ban, since most bans have exemptions on a variety of kinds of single-use plastic, such as food packaging, dry cleaning bags, trash bags, and plastic needed in the medical industry. What's typically covered by these bans is single-use plastic or polystyrene takeout containers, plastic shopping bags, straws, cups, and water bottles. Hopefully more details about these bans will be made public in the new year.
As explained by Forbes, one reason so many Caribbean countries are producing so much plastic is because of disposal and collection issues. 22 percent of households in a sample of Caribbean countries discard waste either on waterways or on land with a risk of it getting into waterways, according to Forbes via data from World Bank. That adds up to an estimated 322,745 tonnes of plastic going uncollected every year.
But the residents of these islands are not necessarily to blame — as Key Caribe pointed out, tourism accounts for a substantial amount of the trash produced in the Caribbean. Single-use plastic bottles, cups, straws, utensils, and more are commonplace even at the fanciest resorts and beaches, where they can easily be blown into the ocean.