The ban on single-use, petroleum-based plastic packaging, containers and utensils is to take effect on New Year’s Day 2020 – no exceptions or extensions, said Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey
“The legislation is clear, and I would advise anyone with these items still on their shelves to remove them by that date,” he declared.
So far, most retailers have been complying with the pending legislation, and local bag manufacturers were already producing more environmentally friendly bags, he said.
“The manufacturers of plastic bags have been able to make a natural organic resin-based plastic bag, so we know they are ready.
“We know we are doing this for a reason, and most Barbadians and business people now appreciate and understand it,” Humphrey said.
The Minister’s comments came at the launch of the inaugural Blue Fest at Almond Bay last night. Blue Fest is a week of activities aimed at highlighting the work of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy in a bid to introduce the public to the concept of the economy and the extent to which many everyday activities depend on the sea.
Blue Fest’s activities include tours of the fish markets, Coast Guard base and the Bridgetown Port for primary school pupils. On “Seafarer’s Day”, fisherfolk and others who depend on the sea for their livelihood are to be treated to lunch. An Open Day is to be held at the Bridgetown Port on Saturday.
Humphrey said he hoped to host an even bigger Blue Fest next year in conjunction with the Barbados We Gatherin’ initiative.
He said: “We’re hoping to have international partners involved in Blue Fest, and we may even have a blue economy conference.
“Right now, the whole world, especially developing countries, is looking at the blue economy and the potential it offers, and we want to get national, regional and international partners on board.”
During the launch, two students of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) in the Maritime Studies division, namely Taejon Cadogan and Shakem Springer, received special awards, an initiative Humphrey said had been going for quite some time. They received $750 from the ministry as well as an internship at the Barbados Port Inc. Cadogan, who is studying Marine Diesel Engineering, and Springer, who is enrolled in Maritime Operations, both thanked their instructors, fellow students and parents for keeping them on track, and Springer expressed the desire to further his studies at the Maritime Institute of Jamaica.