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Story Highlights

  • The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has launched a public education initiative aimed at encouraging the utilization of re-usable bags instead of the single-use plastic versions.
  • The launch, which took place at the agency’s Caledonia Avenue offices in St. Andrew on Friday, July 1, is NEPA’s main activity to mark International Plastic Bag Free Day by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), on Sunday, July 3.
  • Created in 1974, the EEB is the largest federation of environmental citizens’ organizations in Europe.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has launched a public education initiative aimed at encouraging the utilization of re-usable bags instead of the single-use plastic versions.

The launch, which took place at the agency’s Caledonia Avenue offices in St. Andrew on Friday, July 1, is NEPA’s main activity to mark International Plastic Bag Free Day by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), on Sunday, July 3.

Director of NEPA’s Environmental Management and Conservation Division, Anthony McKenzie, said the initiative aims to increase awareness about the detrimental impact of single-use plastic bags on the environment.

He informed that the agency has secured the support of several supermarkets and retail stores in this undertaking.

They include: Progressive Grocers of Jamaica Limited; John R. Wong Supermarket; Lee’s Food Fair and Family Pharmacy; and Everybody’s Pharmacy.

Mr. McKenzie said they have committed to provide cardboard boxes and re-usable bags, among other alternatives, to package products for clients.

Right Direction

Guest speaker at the launch, Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) Officer, Christopher Corbin, lauded NEPA’s initiative, noting it signifies that Jamaica is “moving in the right direction.”

“The problem of littering by plastics, in particular, is getting worse throughout the Caribbean; but as consumers we can make a difference. Governments and the private sector in other Caribbean countries have already started to take action and so, I must commend this effort by NEPA and the corporate sector here in Jamaica,” he said.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Respect Jamaica, Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) and Recycling Partners of Jamaica Limited have also endorsed the initiative.

International Plastic Bag Free Day (IPBFD) is dedicated to heightening awareness about pressing issues resulting from the utilization of this commonly used container

According to the IPBFD website, plastic bags account for 80 per cent of marine litter generated globally. This, the website indicates, results in the death of over 100,000 marine animals annually.

Created in 1974, the EEB is the largest federation of environmental citizens’ organizations in Europe.

It comprises over 150 member organizations in more than 30 countries, most of which are European Union (EU) member states.

The EEB’s individual membership and support base totals approximately 15 million persons.