Featured Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, speaks on the January 1 2019 plastic ban.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 31, 2018 - With the ban on single-use plastic bags scheduled to take effect on the first of January, the Government has made an about-turn on its decision not to allow any exemption to business operators
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, on Monday told a media briefing at Jamaica House, that "There are some businesses which have yet to receive the alternative packaging supplies and have small amounts in stock."
We have seen evidence of their shipping arrival to become available in late January to February. Based on international trade system, to avoid breakdown and dislocation in the system, we're allowing these companies that have small stocks to use them until their supplies arrive," Mr. Vaz announced.
The ban on January 1, 2019 means that the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and imported styrofoam products will no longer be allowed. The ban will see a termination in the use of all single plastic carrier bags, with dimensions at or below 24 inches by 24 inches including bags commonly referred to as “scandal bags” or “T-shirt bags” which are used primarily in the retail and wholesale sectors. The ban on Styrofoam products will take place in stages, firstly targeting importation and then manufacturing.
Mr. Vaz said business operators should make plans to submit their compensation claims for unused stock of single use plastic bags of dimensions 24x24 and thickness of 1.2 mm or less, and disposable plastic straws should be embargoed by manufacturers, importers and distributors as prescribed by the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority.
The government has said business operators will only be compensated for stock bought before the ban was announced in September.
Vaz said fines for breaches of the ban on single-use plastic bags will come into effect at the same time as the ban. He said special focus will be placed on the sources of single-use plastics in the market, such as through distribution, manufactoring and importation.
The maximum fine for breaches of the ban is $2 million under the Trade Act. Breaches under under the Natural Resources and Conservation Authority Act will attract a fine of $50,000. Both orders carry a term of imprisonment of two years.
Vaz disclosed that the government has spent approximately $30 million on its public education campaign on the ban on single-use plastic bags. The campaign will intensify and continue through the phased implementation which will span from 2019 to 2021, he said.
Persons and businesses can visit nepa.gov.jm or call the hotline at 876-285-8531 for more information on the ban.
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