$30m spent on plastic ban education campaign

Government Senator and Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) Chairman, Matthew Samuda, says that approximately $30 million has been expended to date on the education campaign surrounding the ban on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam in Jamaica.

The ban, which began on January 1, covers the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of the materials. Senator Samuda said that the campaign involves the use of “radio, television and print media, as well as electronic billboards, to ensure that all stakeholders, consumers and manufacturers are informed about the ban and are on board in terms of the production and use of environmentally-friendly packaging materials”.

It is being undertaken by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) with the support of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).

“The public awareness blitz has taken NEPA to 11 parishes to date and includes town hall meetings, meetings with business operators, small businesses, community groups, educational institutions and churches,” Senator Samuda said at a meeting at the BSJ’s Winchester Avenue headquarters in St Andrew recently.

He noted that NEPA has established a plastic ban hotline (876-285-8531) and email address (policyonplasticban@nepa.gov.jm), which have already received approximately 700 calls and 600 emails, respectively, from Jamaicans, who are seeking information about the steps they need to take in accordance with the ban.

“Even now, roughly four months into the ban, people are still asking what the alternatives are. They include multi-use cloth bags…some supermarkets have gone back to using brown paper bags and boxes for the heavier goods,” he pointed out.