Fri | Jan 28, 2022

Find resourceful substitutes for plastic

Published:Friday | March 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM


The recent ban by the Government of Jamaica of single-use plastic bags is the most progressive step Jamaica has taken in many years.

The recognition that plastics are strangling our world and that we in Jamaica have a duty to try and redress the situation shows that Jamaica has identified the clear and present danger that excess plastic represents to our country and, indeed, to the world.

The oceans and the seas are awash with single-use plastics of every kind. Walk 10 metres on any beach in Jamaica and you will encounter plastic bags, plastic straws, cups, food packets, water bottles, juice boxes, styrofoam containers – the list is endless. And if you conscientiously pick them up, as I do routinely, the following day, they will be there again, washed up on the previous tide.

Apart from the sheer ugliness of this rubbish washed up on our usually pristine beaches, the greater danger is what these plastics are doing to our wildlife – whether in the oceans or on land. Seabirds are eating plastics and feeding it to their young. Sea turtles are strangling on plastic used to hold six-pack soda cans together.

Plastics and microplastics can be found in the very depths of the oceans, to say nothing of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ floating in the ocean, which is now twice the size of Texas, and growing, and weighs seven million tons.

Jamaicans are resourceful people. We can find better ways to carry our goods than using the convenient scandal bags. Each of us needs to take personal responsibility. The world needs more action like that taken by the Government of Jamaica in banning single-use plastics.