Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Vaz rejects criticisms of plastics, styrofoam ban

Published:Wednesday | September 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz during the press conference, on Monday, where he announced the ban on single-use plastic and Styrofoam products.

Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, is rejecting the round of criticisms that came with Monday's announcement on the ban on single-use plastic and Styrofoam products.

Chairman of the Wisynco Group, William Mahfood, had said that the Government's decision to impose a ban on plastic bags and styrofoam "is a knee jerk reaction which will not work". However, Vaz said that was "false and without basis".

Mahfood made the statement in response to the Government's announcement of a ban on the importation, manufacture and distribution of three types of plastic products effective January 1, 2019.

In a statement yesterday, Vaz said that the suggestion that the Government has taken a "knee jerk" decision could not be further from the truth, as extensive consultations were held, following the private members motion which was raised in the Senate in October 2016 by Government Senator, Matthew Samuda.

Vaz said the motion went to Cabinet and a public/private sector working group was set up in January 2017, more than a year ago, to deliberate on the issue.

The working group included several Government agencies, the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, the Jamaica Manufacturers and Employers Association, and the Opposition.

Minister Vaz says of note, is that representatives of WISYNCO were among stakeholders who made submissions to the working group, and the company submitted an extensive document which outlined its feedback to the proposed ban on polystyrene foam.

He also stated that legislation was not required to facilitate the ban on single use plastic bags or polystyrene foam containers, as "the measures may be imposed via Sections 8 - 13 of the Trade Act, and where necessary a Ministerial Order from the Industry Minister can be promulgated. Also, the relevant provisions of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act will also apply."

Further, he pointed out that the National Environment and Planning Agency in collaboration with the Environment and Risk Management Branch of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, is the lead agency tasked with the operationalization of the proposed ban.

"We have to put our country and the well-being of our global village first. I urge those resisting the move to note that it cannot always be about the almighty dollar. The time comes in the existence of any country when decisions have to be made in the interest of current and future generations," said Vaz.