The Jamaican government has announced that the use of plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam will be banned starting from January 2019.
There are a number of things we have done, and continue to do, that harm the planet we live on. The use of fossil fuels to power our factories and vehicles, the decimation of rainforests in South America, and most notably right now, the excessive use of plastic. Thankfully, that last one is being addressed by many across the globe as we speak.
In fact, the Government of Jamaica announced this week that as of January 1st, 2019, single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, and styrofoam will be banned. Not only will Jamaicans no longer be allowed to use any of the above by law, but the import, manufacture, and distribution of them will be illegal as well.
According to The Independent, Daryl Vaz, the minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, said the ban will take effect as of January 1st, 2019. These policies will be part of an international effort to reduce pollution. Black plastic bags known as "scandal bags" in Jamaica will also be illegal. They are named as such because you can't see through them so that users can hide potentially scandalous items inside.
There are some necessary exceptions to the laws: plastic bags that are used to package foods such as meat, flour, sugar, rice, and baked goods will still be permitted for use. The same applies to styrofoam. As for straws, drink cartons and juice boxes with plastic straws already attached will be allowed until January of 2021, giving manufacturers enough time to come up with an alternative. Doctors will also be allowed to supply some patients with plastic straws considering in some cases paper or bamboo as alternative materials aren't appropriate.
As always, with this kind of campaigns, we can all do our best as individuals, but we need corporations and governments to step in to make a big difference. The Government of Jamaica is doing exactly that, and with almost immediate effect too. If an entire country can change its ways, then there is no real reason why other countries and governments can't follow Jamaica's footsteps. Fingers crossed that we see other countries follow suit.