Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Letter of the Day | Congrats, Minister Vaz

Published:Monday | February 11, 2019 | 12:19 AM


Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, and his team ought to be commended for his recent initiatives aimed at banning single-use plastic bags, straws and styrofoam.

The ban, which came into effect on January 1, 2019, has been overwhelmingly supported by our nation. Both large and small consumers have got on board and sought to adhere to the regulations outlined.

What is most impressive is that this initiative was not marred with major protests and criticisms on the part of consumers; considering that plastic has been a part of our culture for so many decades, given its flexible, durable and convenient nature.

I know it’s early days yet, but I believe that this plan of action will prove fruitful, given the fact that we have been duly educated on the damaging effects of plastics on our health and the environment.

The assisted monitoring of several agencies such as the National Environment and Planning Agency, Jamaica Customs, Bureau of Standards, among other entities, and excessive fines attached to any breaches, ought to ensure that this ban remains permanent.

The Plastic Bottle Refund Scheme, which is set to become fully operational in the early 2019-2020 financial year, is yet another outstanding and long-awaited proposal announced by Minister Vaz.

The scheme encourages consumers to deposit their bottles at various collection points in exchange for a small cash rebate. This is also aimed at reducing littering and encouraging recycling across the island.

It is quite obvious that Vaz and his team have thoroughly researched, planned and executed these initiatives so as to ensure that the desired results are achieved.

Jamaicans at large are now slowly but eagerly becoming more receptive and less myopic in their outlook on national policies and regulations that aim to develop and enhance our country and, ultimately, future generations to come.

I believe that this is, in fact, one of the first steps to realising a greater Jamaica.