Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Twelve St James businesses charged for alleged plastic ban breaches

Published:Wednesday | October 5, 2022 | 12:12 AM

Twelve businesses in St James have been charged for alleged breaches of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order, 2018, by the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).

A release from NEPA noted that the charges were brought because on various days in September 2022, the businesses were observed as being in possession of commercial quantities of drinking straws attached to juice or drink boxes, and single-use plastic bags made wholly, or in part, of polyethylene or polypropylene plastic, with dimensions 24x24 inches, with thickness less than 2.5mls.

The matters are to be heard today in the St James Parish Court.

Morjorn Wallock, director, legal and enforcement at NEPA, explained that “the charges are coming out of Operation Restore Paradise, a collaborative effort among several government partners, to include the Jamaica Constabulary Force”.

“NEPA remains strident in its efforts to increase compliance with the ban on some single-use plastics and other environmental and planning laws,” Wallock noted.

The Government announced a ban on single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and ‘the importation of polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as Styrofoam, used as finished goods in the food and beverage industry, that is, food and beverage containers.’ The ban was effective January 1, 2019.

The NEPA release emphasised that the ban was still in effect, and encouraged persons to obey the order and report breaches.

“Under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials) Prohibition Order, it is an offence to import, distribute or use single-use plastic bags with dimensions not exceeding 24x24 inches and 2.5mls in thickness. The partial ban on single-use plastics also extends to plastic drinking straws, plastic straws affixed to box juices and drink pouches, and the importation, manufacture, distribution, and use of expanded polystyrene foam products.”

Persons found guilty of breaching the order may be fined up to $50,000 and/or a term of imprisonment.

Breaches involving importation of single-use plastics will be prosecuted under the Trade (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order and if found guilty, the court may impose a maximum fine of $2 million and/or a term of imprisonment, the release noted.