Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 16, 2021 (SKNIS): The Department of Environment commenced the first in a series of consultations with respective stakeholders to ensure that the views of everyone concerned are reflected in the proposal to ban single-use plastics in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The consultation, which was held on Friday, April 16, 2021, at the Department of Physical Planning Conference Room, was held under the theme “Are you Ready to be Plastic Free?”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives, Sharon Rattan, welcomed stakeholders and emphasized that active collaboration is key to a successful consultation.
“In doing this consultation, we would like to emphasize that collaboration is not just about your presence at a meeting. We want your voices to be heard and we want you to share your concerns back with your departments and those within your reach. That is what collaboration is. We have to keep in mind that we want meaningful collaboration,” said Ms. Rattan.
Minister of Environment and Cooperatives, the Honourable Eric Evelyn., said that the stakeholder meeting is long overdue and timely.
“The banning of single-use plastic bags is long overdue. The talk about banning single-use plastic bags has been around for some time and I believe the time is right now for us to act. There has been a lot of talks but there has not been a lot of action and I believe the time is right,” said Minister Evelyn.
Since becoming the Environment minister in 2020, Honourable Eric Evelyn submitted a proposal to Cabinet to ban single-use plastics. The proposal, he said, received the blessing of every member.
Minister Evelyn noted that it is important to ban single-use plastics because a significant number of plastics are generated yearly, and this creates a burden on the Federation’s landfill. He added that the plastics are not biodegradable and so they will continue to be around for many years to come once they are not banned. Additionally, they also end up in the ocean and create a bigger problem for marine life.
The stakeholder meeting was attended by representatives from the Department of Consumer Affairs; the Small Business Development Center; the Ministry of International Trade; Solid Waste Management Corporation; the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives, and Ital Creations. The next round of consultations will continue with the private sector.