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Jamaica used to be one of those countries to top the scale for the countries to contribute most to pollution when it comes to plastic and materials biodegradable . The people of Jamaica loved the use of plastic bags otherwise known as scandal bags.

When walking through many parts of Kingston, and throughout other providences I see so many plastic bags, plastic containers, etc. with the material these are made from the decomposing effect and length of time for it to return to earth is unbearable and inconceivable.

In the year 2018, Daryl Vaz, the minister in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, said the ban will take effect from 1 January 2019 and will be part of an international effort to reduce pollution.

Daryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation displays a plastic shopping bag at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew on Monday, September 17, 2019. Vaz announced a ban on single use plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam effective January 1, 2019. 

The ban would be pertaining to:

The ban extends to the import, manufacture and distribution of plastic bags smaller than 24×24 inches (60x60cm), including black “scandal bags”, common in Jamaica and apparently named because the colour prevents others from seeing the scandalous contents within.

But the ban will not apply to those single-use plastic bags “utilised to maintain public health or food safety standards” such as those used to package raw meats, flour, rice, sugar and baked goods such as bread.

Polyethylene, known as Styrofoam, will also be prohibited but local manufacturers and importers will be able to apply to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for limited exemptions until January 2021.

In February of 2019 I took a trip to Jamaica and I was prepared for the change as I was already aware of the change. I made sure to Cary two reusable bags for when I need to carry groceries, clothing etc.

Many individuals did not gravitate to the new changes when it came to banning plastics. As I went to various places in Montego Bay and St. Elizabeth I heard the frustration of the people. Many complained of why the government had to implement such law and how the scandal bag (plastic bag) was much more useful.

This is what the people of Jamaica is saying regarding the ban on plastic in Jamaica.

As I visited a hotel in Montego Bay the premises and staff had fully what adapted to the implementation of banning plastic. I utilized the reusable bag I had with me and there was no vision of seeing any of the guest with plastic bags.

This was a sign that it was being received well in the hotel, on the other hand you would have to also think that most of these people that were at the hotel might have been tourist that may have done research as I did about what to expect before traveling.

As I began to leave Jamaica I decided to eat before boarding my flight. The restaurant I decided to get food from in the airport seemed to have recycled paper napkins and the straw was made out of paper as an alternative option for plastic straws. The straw was firm at first, but slowly you could feel the texture dissolving in your mouth as the liquid from the beverage ran through the papered straw. This was an unusual experience but well worthwhile.

paper straws

In closing, I would highly recommend anyone traveling to do their home work when traveling to other countries. When it comes to going green I would advise for you to carry at lease 1 or two reusable bags. Carry a LED Flashlight, water bottle, if you can a packing dish with utensils if needed. This would really help to play your role as a conservative citizen when it comes to going green and reducing plastic in the world.

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Junior Griffiths

As a Caribbean born Junior have always enjoyed writing from an early age. It began by writing poetry and short stories.

With a mission of helping to motivate and empower the Caribbean people, community and countries he came up with the idea of the Caribbean people empowering its own people starting from locally to the diaspora. By doing it would begin on a range of topics such as Technology, and Health and Wellness etc. and becoming teachers, learners, and doers. Thus,
Empowering Us Caribbean was developed.

The concept was to generate an online community where people on a wide spectrum may contributing to the development and growth of the Caribbean.
Junior Griffiths
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