The Ban of single-use plastics in Belize is in full swing after the Environment Protection (Pollution from Plastics) Regulations 2020 was signed on Tuesday. As we reported, the legislation will not see immediate enforcement by authorities but there will be a phase-out period of about 1 year. This will allow business owners that use plastic to acquire an alternative product for plastic. In speaking with the Minister of Environment, Godwin Hulse, he noted that Belize cannot afford to continue using single-use plastics as it will be detrimental for the environment.
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Environment: “I don’t want people out there panicking that in fact government or the Department of the Environment is going to rush them. We have to look at the concept and while we have legislated, the concept is to educate, to say look yes there has to be legislation but the education is that everybody knows by now these single use plastic find their way into our waterways, into our barrier reef, they mess up our facilities etc. There was a time before you all were born when we were happy to have a plastic bag, my mom and them that was like a piece of gold you wash your plastic bag and you put your school books in there and so but today it’s so voluminous that it has become a nuisance. So that is the aim, phase out the styrofoam, phase those out and try to introduce biodegradable stuff. You know there are a lot of companies looking at biodegradable material including use of hemp and all sorts of things and that’s the gist of the legislation and where we’re going. Government is prepared and has been in some cases reducing duties and all that sort of thing to mitigate that but we don’t want the excuse that “we can’t afford” because we can’t afford to destroy, we have to find a way to deal with that and I think everybody in the nation will agree.”
Minister Godwin Hulse also told us that the Government of Belize is in full support of local businesses creating products that can be used as an alternative to plastic.