The Environment Protection (Pollution from Plastics) Regulations 2020 was signed in January. Since then the process to completely phase out plastic has been moving forward successfully. This is after several delays under the UDP Government. It is expected that plastic will be phased out by next month. Minister of Sustainable Development Orlando Habet gave us an update.
Orland Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management: “As you know during the previous administration I think 2019 it was postponed two or three times and the last date for use was supposed to have been July 2021. Because during the previous administration they had been granted some more time some of the importers had claimed that they brought in a lot of raw material, those who do the manufacturing and os they stayed with it because of COVID so that’s understood so we want to work with them. But we have now put in place through Cabinet that the last day for use for single plastics will be December 2021. We are encouraging those local producers to start producing the biodegradable products and if they’re going to import to import the biodegradable products that are compliant with the legislation, with the regulations that have just been signed by the Bureau of Standards. So even though the Department of Environment wanted to implement what we have just passed they can’t unless there’s a standard and so now the Bureau of Standards has signed the regulation and so now when the import permits are given they have to be given based on the standards that are there from the Bureau of Standards and I believe it is a minimum of 50% biodegradability within one year and hopefully it can go up maybe 75-80% whatever the standards are.”
Habet says he does not expect another delay. He says that enforcement will be a crucial part to the success of the phase out of plastic.
Orland Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management: “Certainly the department will start getting prepared. I perceive that the only problem can come is if they can come claiming accessibility to the standard for importing the product. But they can’t just confine themselves to maybe Central America for their resources; they have to look elsewhere to get their sources. So I believe that it’s out there we just need to buy it. They might be a little bit more expensive but that’s the sacrifice we make.”