Guyanese urged to minimise use of plastic

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As Guyana joins the rest of the world in observing Earth Day 2018, the country’s leaders are urging citizens to lessen their dependency on plastic products.

Earth Day is observed on April 22 annually and this year, the focus is on ending plastic pollution.

Plastic is threatening the planet’s survival from poisoning the oceans and land, injuring marine life, and affecting public health.

The Department of Environment under the Ministry of the Presidency hosted a ceremony at State House Monday morning to highlight the importance and the role of every Guyanese in this global fight.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who delivered the feature address, pointed out that no country can achieve an end to plastic pollution without political will and cooperation from all sections of society.

He noted that for his part, the Government has the political will and this, he said, was demonstrated when it tabled and passed the amendment to the Customs Act stipulating that importers of plastic containers may an environmental levy.

A section of the gathering today at State House

Harmon noted too that several supermarkets have collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency to minimize their use of plastic. These are Survival Supermarket, Budget, Bounty, Mattai’s, Distribution Services Limited and Massey.

“These institutions have agreed to use boxes, reusable bags and biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags to pack their customers’ goods,” Harmon stated.

He said the supermarkets also agreed to encourage customers to take their own bags when shopping in order to lessen the use of plastic bags.

In the coming months, the Minister assured that the Government will roll out more measures to address this issue. But Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin pointed out that plastic is a very useful material and that the problem lies with the misuse of plastic products.

“It has provided many solutions for society and for businesses, the problem, however, is our approach to plastic and the wanton use of plastic products and the manner in which we discard those products when we’re finished using them,” Gaskin told the small gathering.

Studies show that enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. An estimated 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012, and confirming and upward trend over the past years.

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