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Enviro group renews calls for law to regulate importation of plastic products

Published:Tuesday | May 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM
In this 2015 file photo, plastic bottles are seen among debris in a gully.

Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter

Environment lobby group, Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has renewed its appeal for the government to introduce legislation to regulate the importation and use of plastic products, especially bottles, as part of efforts to reduce the impact on the environment.

JET wants to see a system where producers or importers charge an additional fee on plastic bottles and where consumers are given a refund when they return them.

It notes that this was one of several recommendations contained in a March 2001 study commissioned by the government, but that were never implemented.

Arguing that Jamaica faces a solid waste management crisis, JET says it’s now time for legislation to establish a deposit/refund scheme for plastic bottles in the first instance.

“This is the most effective way to ensure that plastic bottles are not discarded in gullies, rivers and on land. Returning plastic bottles for the deposit will also supply small sources of income to collectors," JET said.

Meanwhile, JET also wants the government to regulate the importation of Styrofoam and single use plastic bags with the aim of eventually banning their importation within five years.

"Legislation requiring a charge for single use plastic bags has been shown in other countries to reduce consumption of these bags by significant percentages."