“We would have introduced to Cabinet a memorandum prepared by the Department of the Environment, which Cabinet will consider seriously. It a very solid piece of document, a very solid memorandum,” said State Minister Joseph Harmon.
Harmon, who also has responsibility for the Ministry of the Environment, said he has already asked the Department of Environment to have the technical officers be present at that Cabinet session to properly explain the measures proposed to ban plastic.
Head of the Department of the Environment, NdibiSchwiers said the document is a simple draft that is seeking to reduce on a short-term basis, the importation of the single-use plastic items. It is hoped that by 2020 there will be a complete ban on the product.
Harmon said while plastic remains a useful material, it is also responsible for the degradation of the earth.
In January of last year, the government successfully tabled an amendment to the Customs Act, which stipulated that importers of plastic containers pay an environmental levy to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
It said the levy was not a revenue collection initiative, but a measure to encourage the recycling and reduction of the use of plastics.
Minister for Business, Dominic Gaskin, said the use of plastic bags must be addressed with urgency.
“Guyana has a big problem with single-use plastic items and this needs to be addressed with urgency if Guyana is to become the green state that we all look forward to,” Gaskin said, adding that there needs to be a long-term solution to address the issue of plastic pollution in the country, so that “we can be green and clean again”.