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Darville Adds His Voice To Oppose Charging Shoppers For Plastic Bags

SAVE The Bays chairman Joseph Darville.

SAVE The Bays chairman Joseph Darville.

By FARRAH JOHNSON

fjohnson@tribunemedia.net

SAVE the Bays Chairman Joseph Darville has joined the chorus of people calling on the government to abandon the 25 cents to $1 fee merchants are mandated to charge customers for single-use plastic bags.

The environmentalist said while he supports the new plastic ban, the government should abandon the fee and create a more effective way to encourage the public to embrace the initiative.

Mr Darville told The Tribune he believes shoppers should be given plastic bags free of charge until retailers “run out of stock”. This, he said, would give customers sufficient time to purchase reusable bags.

Under the Environmental Protection (Control of Plastic Pollution) Act, businesses can possess and sell the banned plastic bags for a fee until June 30. The fee is meant to be a deterrent, spurring residents from using single-use plastic items.

The Ministry of Environment began an awareness campaign about the new law—which came into effect on January 1—in early 2018.

“Plain and simple, the plastic ban is a good thing but I think it’s wrong for people to be charged 25 cents for a bag,” he said. “If you go to a grocery store right now and you have enough groceries that would require four of those plastic bags, that’s a dollar. A lot of people cannot afford that.

“I stood in line in a grocery store in Freeport just the other day and this woman almost cried because she was buying for her whole family and she had to pay 25 cents for every bag. And so I gave her some assistance just to take the stuff out in my arms because I too was not going to pay 25 cents for a bag.”

Stating that he did not understand the logic behind the charge, Mr Darville said he does not believe the additional 25 cents will “create a sense of awareness” in the public that would promote the importance of sustainability.

“There’s got to be a more just and equitable and also reasonable and sensible way to go about it,” he insisted. “Older ladies can hardly pay for the groceries that they have on the belt now. They cannot afford to add another 25 cents depending on how many bags they have.”

When asked what he believed would be a more effective way to enforce the plastic ban, Mr Darville said it would be better for stores to go back to using paper bags. He also said it should be “obligatory” for supermarkets to provide containers for shoppers with large grocery purchases.

Ministry of Environment officials have said they are not encouraging people to use paper bags, which lead to deforestation and create waste, but reusable bags.

Mr Darville also said: “It isn’t wise logic in that whole process as far as I can see. If you’re going to charge them, then have a reasonable price on reusable (and) biodegradable bags and then charge a minimum fee.”

Mr Darville also said the government should consider manufacturing biodegradable plastics.

He added: “I saw some really angry people in the food store recently and (the 25 cents charge) is going to leave a really bad taste in people’s minds and hearts and they’re just going to have a hostile view towards the whole thing moving towards getting rid of plastics period.”

On Monday, 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.

The new law also banned Styrofoam, single-use plastic utensils and straws as well as the release of balloons into the atmosphere.

Comments

birdiestrachan 1 month ago

The biodegradable bags is the answer.. They have banned the bags that affect the poor and pretend as if they have done something.

But plastic bags are available for garbage but one has to pay for them. peanut. meat. bread produce . clothes from the Laundry. go by the harbor the pallets are wrapped in plastic. to many to name.

They have gone after the small thing. and left cruise ships to spill garbage and approve oil refineries. and they will dredge for oil soon.

Only the poor are being hurt with an increase in the cost of living.

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DWW 1 month ago

dude what are you smoking? one does not dredge of oil. it is called drilling... RE-useable bags is the answer not biodegradable ones. my family uses about 3 platic garbage bags a week and we have been using reusable shopping bags for years (unless i forget sometimes). this compared to the 10 double bagged (10x2=20 for those mathematically challenged) twice a week shopping that most families use. i have repeatedly over and over told the bag person to only use a single bag (again when i forget on occasion) and they look at me like i'm crazy. I have proven the point and put 9 hieneken bottles in 1 single bag, walk to the car across the parking lot then into my house and the bag did not break... we bahamian need to get with the program. many companies and sporting events have been giving away free bags for decades now. there is absolutely no reason why you should not have a stack of them. i got one insurance management bag, a royal star bag, i even got one milo bag and festival cleaner bag. just got a really nice reusable bag from Pinders Plumbing when I went to get get replacement filters. I mean come on, even the plumber is on board. go fly a kite Birdie, made with plastic shopping bags.

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moncurcool 1 month ago

It is simple people. If you don't want to pay a plastic bag fee, then bring your own reusable bag to the store. For too long as Bahamians we like to take the easy way out and make noise over the things that are irrelevant.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

This is not about people whining. Its about people saying I don't have an extra 20 for bags every month. The cheaper bags at 2 dollars each dont stand up to wear and tear. An individual making 1000 per week eould think nothing of constantly replacing bags or paying 10 dollars for more durable ones... but 20 for the person making 200 per week is dinner or "the family".

We have a country with widening gaps between have and have nots with the haves completely insensitive to the struggle. They typically give statements like "Well I did XYZ and nobody help me..." so everyone who needs help is automatically classed as too lazy, lacking initiative and ultimately undeserving of help. We are creating a ticking time bomb.

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DWW 1 month ago

how long do you think a decent proper shopping bag will last? 2 weeks? 2 years? 20 years? This has been common practice for decades in Europe and UK. Yes i said decades. And consider this, the lower cost to the business should mean lower costs on the goods so the low income consumer should break even. but then again the business owner may not adjust because they have extra stress from the likes of you. or they just looking to improve teh bottom line so they can hire more staff.

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Hoda 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Have you ever held or purchased a reusable bag, it lasts, its not for one grocery trip @thisisours

I hole this isnt the reasoning and logic behind the aversion to reusnable bags from the public. Who is saying these things?

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geostorm 1 month ago

@moncurcool, I really don't get what they are crying about. For almost a year they were told this was coming. Either you bring your bags or pay 25 cents for each bag you use. What are they going to do once the bags are no longer offered. Lord, my people "does make me tired"!!

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BMW 1 month ago

Just like the identification systems Bahamas Air knew about 10years ago. You could tote your groceries in a pillow case if you dont have reusable bags.

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bahamianson 1 month ago

Minnis' does what the UN says. The UN is our government , not Minnis'.

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TheMadHatter 1 month ago

"...at he did not understand the logic behind the charge, Mr Darville said he does not believe the additional 25 cents will “create a sense of awareness” in the public that would promote the importance of sustainability."

Really? It got you talkin, and ive seen more articles on plastic bags these past few weeks than even articles on sloop captures.

The answer really though is for government to repeal the law and let us go back the way we were. We hate any change ... even good changes to save our lives.

Let's just keep dying from cancer, and celebrating our independence from the U.N. ...... LOL

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geostorm 1 month ago

@madhatter, I'm shocked to read Darville's response. He of all people should understand why the 25 cents is being charged. These people talk out of the two sides of their mouths.

In any event, sometimes you have to hit Bahamians where it hurts to get them to understand!

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TheMadHatter 1 month ago

You are correct. I was just making one of my Madd comments to make people think.

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concerned799 1 month ago

If one considers how the oceans are drowning in plastic, a charge on bags is the least we could do. So good on the government for at least starting our journey off plastic.

Lets say the oceans more or less lose all productivity after 100 years of more plastics, what will fish cost then? Would there even be any?

People survived long before the plastic era did they not?

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

This reminds me of period pictures where you see all the poor people in rags walking in the mud while boards are laid down for high society men and women escape the filth then look down with scorn at all the dirty people wondering why they can't wear clean clothes

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Observer 1 month ago

Look here, people are so much more important than fish. Vehicles are polluting, cigarette smoke is polluting, power plants are polluting, rats are polluting, trash burning is polluting, mosquitoes are terrorizing us and the list of things that affect human beings is longer that we can see. So what about protecting us from ourselves. By the way , its foolishness to even suggest that fish ingest plastic products. We drink water that is stored in and piped via plastic pipes (pvc). Don't blame fish for distributing plastic, they are as wise as us.

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DWW 1 month ago

in one fell swoop he jsut completely ruined the integrity of this quasi environmental lobbying group called "Save the Bays". more like Save bacons bay.

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DonAnthony 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I am a fan of Mr. Darville but I disagree completely with him here. I have been using reusable bags for the last year with no problem. It is not that hard, the govt gave away 50,000 free bags as did numerous other businesses but our Bahamian people are so pathetic that they can not even take a bag to the grocery store. No wonder we are in such a terrible state in this country.

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birdiestrachan 4 weeks, 1 day ago

No donanthony we are in this terrible state because of a FNM Government that seeks to make the rich richer and the poor who cares.

This is another tax for the poor and more profit for the rich, reusable bags cost money and people did use the bags that waste away. Plastic is ever where. the bags given at the store was the least of all.

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Bobsyeruncle 4 weeks, 1 day ago

OMG Birdie, don't you ever stop. You really do have issues !!

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BONEFISH 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Lowe's Pharmacy are selling their reusable bags for $ 1.00 plus vat.

Suntee's are selling theirs for $1.00 plus vat.

SuperValue are selling theirs for $1.29 plus vat.

Aliv and the Ministry of Housing and the Environment at one time were giving them away for free.

I am sure most persons can afford a $1.12 bag.

Bahamians can be difficult at times.Like some one said to me,there is widespread resistance in this country to progressive changes.

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birdiestrachan 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Yes indeed issue of the poor matter to me. consider this minimum NI income The bank takes $5,00 service charges. The Government takes 12 cents out of every dollar spent, the power bills will have a charge of $30.00 extra there is very little left. out of that one has to buy bags. Stuff adds up.

it is easy for the elite to talk, because the fate of the poor does not matter to them they do not walk with them.

This FNM Government has put their boots on the back of the poor.

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