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Plastic Ban - There's No Going Back

A plastic bag floating in the water off New Providence in this picture from BREEF.

A plastic bag floating in the water off New Providence in this picture from BREEF.

By Syann Thompson

sthompson@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said he would rather risk an election than the future of the country, telling the media the government fully informed the public on the plastic ban and does not intend to reverse the decision.

“I would always prefer in losing an election than losing a country,” Dr Minnis told reporters. “That’s my position. I feel that a country and a future generation is more important to me.”

Dr Minnis was responding to comments by Super Value owner Rupert Roberts, who told a local daily that the government should eliminate the fee charged for plastic bags, as anger over the issue could cause the Minnis administration the next election.

Mr Roberts told the local media outlet: “I think government should really do it because I’m afraid this is going to follow them right to the ballot box.”

The Ministry of the Environment started its education campaign for the single-use plastic ban in early 2018. Dr Minnis explained that officials wanted to ensure that the public was fully aware and had time to make the transition before the ban came into effect on January 1, 2020.

“We went on a serious public relations marketing strategy informing the Bahamian populous that this was going to happen, informing them about the necessity of banning plastic bags,” said Dr Minnis.

Global environmentalists have warned that the proliferation of single-use plastics around the world is accelerating climate change, presenting a danger to humanity. Plastic waste pollution also ends up in the ocean, harming marine life.

“If it gets into our waters it damages or causes death to fish, coral reef and marine life,” Dr Minnis said. “So, the conch salad that you eat today, if we continue down this road with plastics, you won’t have it tomorrow. The fish that you eat today, the boil fish, you won’t have tomorrow. So, we’re trying to prevent that so that we could have sufficient fish, sufficient marine life, sufficient resources for our future generations, so all of that was explained.”

Public anger over the first phase of the plastic ban has centred on the fee businesses are now mandated to charge customers if they want a plastic bag —25 cents to a dollar — with some consumers questioning why they have to pay for something they once got for free.

However, environment officials have stressed that the fee is meant to be a deterrent, prompting people to use reusable bags instead of plastic, something Dr Minnis reiterated.

“The 25 cents was basically put there to prevent you from purchasing,” he said. “So, the (reusable) bags that were offered, given and distributed for over a year, there were different events, bags were given and distributed to people, so that they could use those. Bags will continue to be offered and given to individuals and I encourage Bahamians that as different areas and set-ups take place, that they can utilise and obtain the bags and save our marine life, save our marine resources, save our tourism, save our economy.”

The implementation of these fees complements the ban on the importation, distribution, and manufacture of single-use plastic bags, along with a ban on Styrofoam containers and cups, plastic utensils and plastic straws. The release of balloons into the air has also been made illegal.

Countries like the United Kingdom and Australia have a mandatory charge for plastic bags in their plastic phase-out plan, while countries like Bangladesh, China, Israel, South Africa, the Netherlands, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda and Sri Lanka have fully banned plastic bags.

Comments

birdiestrachan 2 months, 3 weeks ago

doc always has this ready LIE he would rather lose an election. after he said he has seven more years.

doc must be hearing in his head over and over again ."Hit the road Jack and don't come back no more, no more. Ericka wells can not save. him . He is damaged goods. .

he keeps on hurting the poor and making the rich richer All kinds of plastic bags are for sale.. garbage bags and the list is extensive. even bread comes in plastic bags.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Why would the PM link a plastic ban to losing an election????? ………. he has far worse concerns with losing the 2022 election than banning plastic bags …….. the oppressive tax regime is far worse than paying 25 cents for a bag at Super Value …….. he is really ignorant of the plight of poor Bahamians if he thinks that is his biggest threat to losing the 2022 election …… 1. Immigration ….. 2. BPL/fuel bills ….. 3. VAT12 ……. 4. Low wages ….. 5. No jobs …. 6. High costs of food ….. 7. Health costs ……… 8. Crime …… 9. Govt corruption ….. 10. PLP tricks ……. 11. Biggety Cabinet attitudes ……. 12. Struggling Out Islands

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bogart 2 months, 3 weeks ago

...13. PMH computer platform $18M challenhes...14. PMH equipment failures.....15. Bahamas running incurring some $20M subventions and aging jets.....16. Massive cost overruns contonuing past projevcts.....17. Roads needs repairing........18. Noone yet found guilty of Misfesance, nonfeseance, malfeseance for public to see some results are happening.....19. ..Ongoing subjuctions to govt Agencies....20. Raising despair, misery... 21.Businesses struggling to survive when world change of events with Amazon products cheaper with call and cash to shipper bypassing businesses having rents, salaries etc......22.More people on food lines......23.lack of pushing out projects to employ like recycling machines advertised around 50k to 100k on Alibaba to employ people, machines making pellets converted to lawn furnitures, plastic woods for housing etcetc.,More venues for tourists,...... 24.Climate change raising faster water levels....

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geostorm 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't blame the good Doctor! Stay focused on what is important, that is, the future of our society and making it better. With our people, it's damn if you do and damn if you don't!

Elections, come and go, Bahamians will vote you out and vote you in. IF you are greasing their pockets then you will live long, but if you are trying to make lives better for all, and forcing them to be accountable, then you will be short lived. My advice is to do what is right for all while you are there. If they kick you off the scene so be it!

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bogart 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The entire nation suffers when the electorate gets govt kicked out after a 5 year term. The time is very limited to be getting your own platform results and compounding dealing with extinguishing problems by previous govt. whose creators go not go to jail.

Nation is better off with getting hard problems resolved and new solutions to uplift nation with longer 10 year period.

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TalRussell 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Somethings either just doesn't make sense or maybe we just need more detailed breakdown? For example, the government says to date it had received a total of $9 million in actual spendable cash donations and spent $7 million of which in the neighborhood of $4.6 million has done been spent to purchase, ship and for the installation domes - but yet, not a single dome has been turned over to any Abacoian family made homeless by Hurricane Dorian? What about the preview process for qualifying to get a dome - likes how many Abacoians have dome met the qualification and where and from which island, town or settlement are they coming from? Also, where is the rest unspent $2 million cash in donations collected?

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The domes (igloos) idea was a dumb one ……… self-respecting Bahamians will not live in them …….. Its the new Mudd or Pigeon Pea that the FNM is investing in …… That $6 million could have been better served providing Abaco Bahamians with home repairs (not igloos)

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themessenger 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Really?? These are not intended to be permanent homes, rather a reasonable accommodation for displaced homeowners until they can rebuild their own homes. Or is the government responsible for that too as people like Chester Cooper and those especial residents of Ragged Island seem to think?

I'll bet the Joaquin survivors in southern Long Island would have been glad to have some of these domes sent their way. If they're good enough for refugees and persons displaced the world over from cataclysmic weather events how come they ain good enough for Bahamians in the interim??

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Messenger, you talking baloney ………. the PLP didn't see the need to give us any, nor Crooked or Acklins or Andros during their last term. Don't take my word for it ……. ask the Abaconian Bahamians if they will live in igloos.

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joeblow 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Its sad that he and Perry were our only two choices and he and Brave will be our only two options!!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 3 weeks ago

That's precisely what they're both hoping the electorate will think which is why all of us must vote for the truly independent candidate who will be running in our constituency come the next general election.

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themessenger 2 months, 3 weeks ago

And who will preside over this conglomerate of independent MPs? Are you suggesting governance by committee or will one, or some MPs, be more equal than others?? Pigs have a better chance of flying that a coalition of Independent MPs in this country effectively governing. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it, in this case, anarchy!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The independents, once elected by the electorate, will instinctively and all too quickly coalesce into a new political party if doing so will give them a controlling majority of seats in the HOA. The best among them will speedily rise to the top as the leader of the new party. Politics under our present system of government is all about survival first once elected and the forces to make this happen are naturally there and should be trusted to make the system work. The only other alternative for getting rid of our existing corrupt political parties (FNM and PLP alike) and their respective corrupt political elitists is to change our system of government to a republic....and that's a much more difficult option to take on at this time for a number of very good reasons.

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themessenger 2 months, 2 weeks ago

When I look at the quality of those who are currently serving as Independents with all their personal agendas and oversized egos I can only shudder, if that is the way forward I'll stick with the devil(s) I know!

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proudloudandfnm 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Nobody is saying reverse the ban. He's such an incredibly dishonest man....

All we're saying is there is no need to charge a fee for existing inventory. Especially since it's not paid to government but kept in the store's account. Weird law to begin with, almost perverted. I can see telling a store to charge a government fee but to say the law says you have to charge for the bag to your benefit is just plain weird. And it has no purpose. People don't have to get used to the ban, the ban is here use or not....

It's just a dumb move....

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Eve 2 months ago

Great words from the PM but he is wrong. Guess what happens when the public runs out of those eco friendly bags they use as kitchen catchers. Yes, they have to buy plastic garbage bags which use 600 times the plastic, the energy and water. And we have to buy reusable bags which cost more plastic, more energy and more water. Then we have to wash them, more energy and water use. Who can possibly think this is saving the planet anything?

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