The Government of Saint Lucia is taking advantage of opportunities to tackle problems associated with plastic pollution, and its negative impacts on human health and the environment.
In January 2019, the Government announced its intention to phase-out the use of Styrofoam® and selected single-use plastic food service containers in the local food service industry. Saint Lucia’s Journey to Reducing Single-Use Plastic commences on August 1, 2019 with a ban on the importation of these items; a ban on the use, manufacturing, sale and distribution of items will commence from August 1, 2020. In support of this, Parliament passed the Styrofoam® and Plastic Food Service Containers (Prohibition) Act on June 11, 2019.
During the month of July, the Department of Sustainable Development invites other public and private sector departments, agencies and groups to join us in minimising the dependence on single-use plastics, including Styrofoam®, at work, with the option of applying habits at home and in daily life, and sharing with friends and family. Dubbed ‘Plastic Free July’, this is an international campaign designed to increase awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives by encouraging people to significantly reduce the use of single-use plastics for one month.
Taking this one notch further, we encourage all Government Departments to join us in our efforts to minimise the negative impact of our practices, by requesting that a permanent change is made for in-house catering, where Departments must ensure that caterers will provide biodegradable or reusable dishes, cutlery and glasses for meetings (no plastics or Styrofoam® shall be permitted).
Minister for Sustainable Development, the Honourable Dr. Gale T. C. Rigobert, gives her full support for this exercise, stating: “I am pleased with this initiative, and am excited to see how our citizens respond to this campaign. Reducing our dependence on single use plastics can only put a stop to indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste, which always rears its ugly head when it rains!” She adds: “This is a wonderful opportunity to make way for the introduction of creative, innovative alternatives to single-use plastics, using materials found right here in Saint Lucia”.
To ease adoption of this practice, the Department has prepared and circulated a number of tools for adaptation and use to track progress made in the international “Plastic Free” July Challenge, and encourages dissemination among all staff (technical and administrative), allowing your organisation to have a positive impact in reducing the dependence on single-use plastic in Saint Lucia. Also available is an Information Kit that documents the Department’s journey to reducing plastic, providing guidance on selected single-use items being targeted during the phase-out, and potential alternatives to their use.
Contact Ms Lavina Alexander (tel: 468-5833; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com) or Ms. Jeanel Volney (tel: 451-8746; email: firstname.lastname@example.org) should you require clarification or additional information on “Plastic Free” July or Saint Lucia’s Styrofoam and selected-use plastic phase-out initiative.