The Vision 2030 Jamaica “Beating Plastic Pollution Campaign”
From plastic bags to plastic bottles, microbeads, Styrofoam and more — our streets, gullies and not to mention our harbour, are filled with them. The Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat has joined the global initiative to work towards addressing this development challenge through its Corporate Social Responsibility Project “Beating Plastic Pollution”.
The Beating Plastic Pollution Campaign was launched during National Environment Awareness Week (June 3–8, 2018). This campaign is ongoing and intends to raise awareness of one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time, plastic pollution; and to change the mind – set of our people from disposable to reusable through adopting the approach of the 6R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Rethink, Repair and Recycle.
From a domestic perspective, plastic items that are not recycled often end up on our streets and get washed or blown into our drains and gullies, which become blocked and can result in dangerous flooding. Also associated with the blockage of drains and flooding is stagnant water that subsequently becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which are carriers of many diseases — this example is one of the many outcomes of plastic pollution.
This current initiative on reducing and eliminating plastics is included in the Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF) covering the period 2018–2021, and includes a range of activities related to more sustainable consumption and production patterns. Some of the activities are the implementation of the plastics pollution project being undertaken by the Government of Jamaica, the development of a sustainable consumption and production strategic plan, and the introduction and use of economic instruments (such as the current deposit refund scheme for plastic bottles) for environmental management.
The initiatives to be implemented over the medium term, which relate to sustainable consumption and production present many new opportunities and benefits for both consumers and producers. For our companies, these measures will encourage them to better adopt and embrace emerging principles and approaches to sustainability, such as the principle of “natural capitalism”, enabling them to seek profit in new areas, and enhance efficiency while becoming more environmentally and socially responsible.
For all of us, the benefits of these measures will allow for the control of, and reduction of waste generally; prevent the release of toxic substances into the environment (bearing in mind that many negative impacts on the environment are also negative impacts on human health); allow for greater emphasis on the 6Rs and more environmentally friendly disposal of waste; and of course, the creation of a new industry around “waste as a resource” within the realm of the green economy.
Since June 2018, under the “Beating Plastic Pollution” Campaign, the Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat has produced and distributed over 1 000 reusable shopping bags and over 1 000 reusable drinking bottles and aluminium bottles to members of the general public, to aid in the transition from disposable to reusable items. Our communications programme has also sought to enhance the public’s knowledge of environmental stewardship practices at most of the conferences and in booth displays in we have participated in, during the latter part of 2018.