Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, says that the much-anticipated Deposit Refund Scheme for plastic bottles is now in place.
He noted that the scheme, which will provide a cash refund to consumers who return their plastic bottles, will create employment opportunities, revenue generation, clean streets and, ultimately, cleaner marine spaces.
Depositors will be paid a minimum of $1 for each polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle delivered to Recycling Partners of Jamaica depots across the island.
“It means that we are incentivising; we are giving a reason for persons to pick up the plastic bottles. You won’t find one glass bottle on the ground in Jamaica because people can make money [from] it,” the Minister pointed out.
He was speaking at a ‘Conversations Canada’ webinar on Thursday (June 24), themed, ‘e-Protecting Jamaica’s Marine Resources, the Environment and Climate Change’.
Minister Charles Jr. said that the objective of the Deposit Refund Scheme, which will be officially launched, is to further protect the environment, particularly the marine space, noting that “the largest issue that we have had in terms of marine pollution is our plastic bottles”.
He said that the Government is focused on developing an enabling framework through a raft of policies and legislative instruments that will drive the protection of the country’s marine ecosystem.
He noted, for instance, that the Government is working on updating the National Oceans and Coastal Zone Management Policy, developing a National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, a Watersheds Policy, Cays Management Policy, Beach Access and Management Policy, the designation of Black River as a protected area, and moving to have the Pedro Cays designated as a protected area as well.
“We are also very focused on mangrove restoration… we are driving towards what is necessary to set the country for a healthy marine environment and ecosystem and we know that, through that, we are going to improve lives and we will mitigate the impacts of climate change,” Mr. Charles Jr said.
High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, Her Excellency Emina Tudakovic, in her remarks, noted that Canada and Jamaica recognise the need to protect their marine and coastal resources.
“It has really been encouraging to see some of the steps taken by the Government of Jamaica in the protection and conservation of its marine coastal and natural resources,” she said, while reaffirming Canada’s interest in collaborating with Jamaica on climate and economic resilience.
“Jamaica can count on Canada as a partner for climate and biodiversity action,” she assured.
The Government of Canada has joined other countries to advocate for international action to increase conservation and protection of the world’s oceans by 2030.
The Conversations Canada event sought to highlight Canadian expertise in marine ecology/biology and the benefits of deploying advanced technology in national conservation, protection and preservation efforts.