Styrofoam products to be banned come 2019
It's official. Come 2019, polystyrene products, such as Styrofoam containers, will be illegal in Trinidad and Tobago.
Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis made the announcement while speaking at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary on Thursday evening.
She said the government had approved the ban some two weeks ago.
Environmental groups have been pushing for a Styrofoam ban for quite some time, with a petition being launched back in 2017 outlining the dangers and hazards of Styrofoam.
Styrofoam is non-biodegradable and has been cited as a danger to sea life and wildlife. Styrofoam containers are also said to be among the items that contribute to flooding when disposed of improperly.
Robinson-Regis said local styrofoam manufacturers have been given sufficient time to make the adjustments and switch to more environmentally friendly products. A ban on the importation of Styrofoam products is also to be implemented.
"Approximately two weeks ago the Cabinet approved the banning of Styrofoam to take place by 2019," Robinson-Regis stated. "There is a team that has been set up that is working with the current producers of Styrofoam so that they will not be totally out of pocket. They have a time over which their production of Styrofoam must become environmentally friendly. But in the meantime, we will ban the importation of Styrofoam products into Trinidad and Tobago."
Styrofoam is not the only product engaging the government's attention.
Citizens are also being urged to recycle plastic bottles, aluminium cans and glass bottles.
Trinidad is not the first country in the region to implement a ban on Styrofoam.
Recently, St Vincent and the Grenadines banned the importation of Styrofoam products while Grenada announced that it would also be banning the offending products.
In April 2016, Guyana banned the importation of Styrofoam products as well, while Haiti also banned the product back in 2012.
In Jamaica legislation proposing the prohibition of Styrofoam products received a positive response after a private member's motion was passed in Parliament in October 2016.
The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) passed a motion to ban the products last year and has already begun phasing out Styrofoam.
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