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Local plastic bag manufacturers have been granted permission to produce petroleum-based plastic bags for a limited period of time.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, said this decision was made following concerns raised about the unavailability of biodegradable resin used in the manufacture of local biodegradable bags.

He also advised manufacturers that they must first apply for permission from the Ministry before proceeding to produce the bags.

To date, three plastic bag manufacturers have applied for, and were granted permission to manufacture petroleum-based bags, for a three-month period.

“The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy will continue to monitor the situation and will update the public as necessary,” Mr. Humphrey assured, while stressing that the importation of the bags was not included in the exemption.

He also reiterated Government’s commitment to the protection of the island’s marine resources and a strong sustainable future for Barbados, through the use of biodegradable alternatives.

The Minister explained that existing world conditions had placed a “tremendous burden” on the production and supply chain of biodegradable products.

“Barbados needs to develop its own indigenous responses to tackling the problems of marine and wider pollution, and we look forward to generating solutions to our challenges,” Mr. Humphrey said.

However, while exemptions are being made for the manufacturing of the petroleum-based plastic bags for a limited time, the Minister reminded the public that all other petroleum-based single-use plastics remain banned.

This includes single-use plastic cups; cutlery, including plastic knives, forks and spoons; stirrers; straws; plates; egg trays (both plastic and Styrofoam); and Styrofoam containers used in the culinary retail industry. That ban took effect on April 1, 2020.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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