Phasing Out of Single-use Plastic Bags

Plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam clamshells are used by the average person for only a few minutes before they are thrown away where they can last for decades in the landfill or as litter on the side of highways, in rivers, along coastlines and in the sea, causing harm to wildlife and fishes vulnerable to choking on plastic pieces. Globally, plastic and Styrofoam pollution are a major concern. Large floating debris piles have formed in the Caribbean Sea and other major water bodies. On March 20, 2018. The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Commerce, and the Ministry of Tourism led a collaborative task force comprising the Department of the Environment, Customs Department, Beltraide, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, and Solid Waste Management Authority to advance a proposal to Cabinet to reduce plastic and Styrofoam pollution through the phasing out of single-use plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam and plastic food utensils by April 22, 2019. The proposal was approved by Cabinet at its sitting on the 20th of March 2018. This decision by cabinet was welcomed by many in the public including the Belize Network of NGO’s and the Belize Progressive Party who congratulated the government on such a great move.