Bahamas criminalises release of gas balloons amid plastic ban

The Bahamas government has released the Environmental Protection (Control of Plastic Pollution) Bill, 2019 that would apart from prohibiting the import, distribution, manufacturing, possession and sale of single-use plastic bags and food containers, also make it illegal to release balloons into the air.

“No person shall release any number of balloons at or about the same time if such balloons are filled with gas that causes them to rise in the air,” according to the proposed legislation, adding that anyone found guilty of having intentionally released balloons into the air could be fined up to US$2,000 for a first-time offense, and in the case of a continuing offense, a further fine of US$500 per day during the time the offense continues.

The bill also makes provisions for subsequent offenses, resulting in fines of up to US$3,000 and a further fine of US$700 per day for continuing offenses.

It notes that in the case of balloons that are released by businesses, directors, managers, secretaries or other officers, the bill imposes a fine up to US$5,000.

“Where an offense under this section has been committed by a body corporate and is proved to have been with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect or default on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, such director, manager, secretary or other officer as well as the body corporate commits an offense and is liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000.”

However, the legislation would not apply to businesses that manufacture expanded polystyrene in the country for export.

Bahamas is joining a number of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that have banned single-use plastics, with Nassau hoping to put the legislation in place by next year.


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