Antigua and Barbuda continues to be a pioneer in the fight against marine plastic pollution. The twin island nation was declared to be the country which emits the least ocean plastic by the Environmental Performance Index.
The EPI measures ocean plastic pollution as the absolute quantity, in millions of metric tons, of plastics a country releases into the oceans in a given year. A score of 100 indicates a country emits zero tons of plastic each year, while a score of 0 indicates a country is among the highest (≥99th-percentile) ocean plastic polluters.
Antigua and Barbuda scored an EPI of 83.70 ranking number one out of 180 other countries.
Minister of Health, Wellness and the environment, the honourable Sir Molwyn Joseph stated that this is a great achievement for the twin island state while noting that the country received high commendation from many states. Sir Molwyn indicated that congratulatory remarks were also received from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it
He recounted when he spearheaded the charge for Antigua and Barbuda to ban single-use plastic bags in 2016, he came under much criticism by not only members of the public but even Senior Technical Officers within the Public Health Service. The country however was able to defy the odds and successfully ban single-use plastic bags becoming the first country in the region to do so.
Sir Molwyn thanked the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda led by Prime Minister, the honourable Gaston Browne for seeing the vision and taking decisive action to turn this toxic tide that threatens livelihoods, wildlife and the survival of our oceans. He also thanked all of the various businesses in the retail industry such as the major supermarkets for collaborating with the Ministry, making the initiative a success for which we are now receiving significant recognition. The other Caribbean countries ranking in the top ten were Dominica who was second with an EPI of 74.3, Grenada at fifth with 70.4, St. Vincent and the Grenadines at eighth with 65 and Barbados at tenth with 62.4. The full report can be found at https://epi.yale.edu/epi-results/2022/component/ocp