Earlier this year, Cabinet approved a proposal to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags, Styrofoam and plastic products by April 22, 2019. The tasked is huge since the public has not fully grasped the dangers of these products, neither are they willing to let go of the convenience. Chantalle Samuels, the Chief Executive Officer for the Coastal Zone Management Authority Institute said that her organization will also be involved in the process of phasing out the plastics and Styrofoam which are harmful to the environment.
Chantalle Samuels – CEO, Coastal Zone Management Authority Institute: We have a responsibility or a mandate to coordinate with all relevant authorities and actors as a part of the Parent Ministry we will undoubtedly engage in that dialogue, provide our feedback; there are lots of discussions that still need to be had because there are questions in the general public in terms of how readily that action can be implemented by April 2019 so we are very much in tuned with the discussions and we will certainly via our ministry ensure that we meaningfully towards this great initiative.
At today’s commemoration of the Coastal Zone Management Authority Institute twentieth anniversary, there was a launch of phone cases made out of wood. Persons were encouraged to purchase one of the phone cases to demonstrate their commitment to reduce pollution caused by plastics. Samuels explained.
Chantalle Samuels – CEO, Coastal Zone Management Authority Institute: That in light of this global surge in interest to eradicate or to reduce pollution caused by marine plastics that this is an option that you can consider that will show your support for this movement, to show that you are aware that plastics in the Marine Environment is problematic and this is how I will do my part to support this movement. It will be a worthy cause that Belizeans will be supporting in that the proceed from the sale of these phone cases will go toward sand endowment for a partial scholarship for a student in the Natural Resources Management Program at the University of Belize and it will be applicable to a deserving students who is in his or her last year of that deserving program.
Samuels said that Styrofoam is a cheap alternative for packaging food; however, plates made out of biodegradable material is safer on the environment. Samuels admitted that more discussions need to take place with the general public to convince them to make the transition.