JHTA throws its weight be­hind the pro­posed ban on plas­tics and Sty­ro­foam

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Janet Sil­vera Se­nior Gleaner Writer janet.sil­vera@glean­erjm.com

WEST­ERN BU­REAU: AS DAM­AGE to the is­land’s marine life be­comes more ap­par­ent, the Ja­maica Ho­tel and Tourist As­so­ci­a­tion (JHTA) has thrown its sup­port be­hind the pro­posed ban on plas­tics and Sty­ro­foam.

This fol­lows a pro­posal by Gov­ern­ment Se­na­tor Matthew Sa­muda call­ing for state ac­tion to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment from non-biodegrad­able solid waste.

Ac­cord­ing to the largest group of tourism stake­hold­ers in the coun­try, plas­tics and Sty­ro­foam have been wash­ing up on their beaches, af­fect­ing the coun­try’s reefs, pre­sent­ing risks to marine life, and in­evitably, con­tribut­ing to the re­duc­tion of their lo­cal fish stock. “This af­fects the liveli­hood of hun­dreds in our fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties as well as ho­tels and restau­rants that pur­chase their catch-of-the-day seafood from lo­cal fish­er­men,” laments JHTA pres­i­dent Omar Robin­son.


A hote­lier him­self, Robin­son ex­pressed par­tic­u­lar con­cerns about the im­pact plas­tic and Sty­ro­foam were hav­ing on prod­uct of­fer­ings such as div­ing, snorkelling, and glass-bot­tom boat ac­tiv­i­ties. He cau­tioned that this could greatly re­duce Ja­maica’s po­ten­tial for earn­ings from the tourism in­dus­try.

The JHTA pres­i­dent’s ar­gu­ments were bol­stered by his vice-pres­i­dent and chair­man of the En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee, Carol Bourke, who stated in a me­dia re­lease that ho­tels that have gone the route of sus­tain­abil­ity pro­grammes and sus­tain­able op­er­a­tions have long banned or sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced the use of plas­tics and Sty­ro­foam. In­stead, they have used pa­per­based re­place­ments, and in some cases, biodegrad­able re­place­ments.

“Yes, there are bio and ox­odegrad­able re­place­ments for plas­tics avail­able to­day if we as a coun­try and a peo­ple de­cide that this is what we want to rec­tify the prob­lem for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” she ar­gued, re­it­er­at­ing the JHTA’s sup­port.

“There are al­ter­na­tives avail­able, and Ja­maica’s tourism in­dus­try whole­heart­edly sup­ports the ban­ning of plas­tic and Sty­ro­foam use.”

Sa­muda, speak­ing in the Se­nate re­cently, stated that these prod­ucts will take 500 years or more to sim­ply break down into smaller par­ti­cles, but worse, they will never de­grade.

This re­al­ity has been de­scribed by the JHTA pres­i­dent as sys­tem­i­cally sui­ci­dal.



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