Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says the recently held plastic waste management conference was critical and timely as the Government gears up to implement the third phase of the ban on single-use plastics come January 2021.
“The conference aimed to create a platform to facilitate the active exchange of information among key plastic-consuming, producing, and regulating stakeholders. The event also highlighted the critical steps towards reducing plastic pollution in Jamaica,” he said in an interview with JIS News.
The virtual event, held from December 2 to 4, was hosted by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) under the theme ‘Tackling Plastics Together… Stimulating Innovation in Jamaica’.
It was a key deliverable under the ‘Plastic Waste Minimisation Project’ being funded by the Government of Japan through the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme’s International Environmental Technology Centre, and the Government of Jamaica.
Minister Charles Jr. said that the inaugural forum presented a platform for stakeholders and citizens to become informed and inspired about how they can adopt better environmental safety practices as the nation rebuilds from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Measures to rebuild our economy from the pandemic must go hand in hand with building climate resilience and long-term environmental sustainability,” he said.
He highlighted that plastic pollution poses a threat to Jamaica’s development and urged citizens to adopt better plastic usage and disposal practices.
“The level of plastic pollution we are experiencing in Jamaica can result in potential health and other risks as well as the general destruction of the natural habitats for marine life, which is critical for us in Jamaica as a small developing island state surrounded by water,” he added.
The three-day conference also promoted innovation geared towards creating sustainable solutions to reduce and replace plastics that are harmful to the environment.
Methods for streamlining the communication efforts in support of plastic waste management were also discussed.
Along with Minister Charles, the discussion panel comprised Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica, His Excellency Masaya Fujiwara; and Resident Representative from Japan International Cooperation Agency, Takeshi Takano.