Minister of Environment and Housing, Romauld Ferreira, during his contribution to the 2019/2020 Budget debate on Tuesday night, said the Bahamas is expected to join more than 40 countries that have introduced a ban on plastic bags.
The government’s proposed ban on plastic bags is set to take effect in January 2020.
Ferreira said the Government will ensure that the move offers minimal disruption to businesses and their operation. He said his ministry will also inform and educate the public through a number of town hall meetings heading into 2020.
“The ministry’s education is also advancing the message of a healthier Bahamas through this initiative as the improper use of plastics is associated with various forms of environmental pollution and environmental degradation, which ultimately affects an individual’s health and well-being,” Ferreira said.
The proposed ban comes on the heels of several warnings issued by local environmental and climate experts who have stressed that non-biodegradable products such as plastic bags and Styrofoam have contributed to environmental issues.
Director of Energy and Environment with the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Debbie Deal, told Eyewitness News Online Wednesday that back in April 2018, the Ministry of Environment signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, to ensure that businesses would be prepared for enforcement of the 2020 ban.
Deal said the implementation of the ban should not be an issue.
“VAT was [pushed] from 7.5 to 12 per cent and on July 1, 2019 it came into effect. We as a people were able to make that transition in a month’s time, so I personally think that a year and 9 months is sufficient to make that transition,” Deal said.
Meanwhile, Trevor Davis, the co-owner of Quality Home Center on Blue Hill Road said as his business prepares to replace plastic bags with reusable shopping bags, the move, while costly, will bring down the cost of bags for business owners as the new bags are reusable.