A variety of regions have launched bans on plastic bags including China, Italy, certain regions in the United States, areas around Africa, and elsewhere.
Dozens of countries have been looking to aggressively regulate plastic bags and other similar items out of existence to a certain extent and that includes a number of countries now in the Caribbean, 7 more join the cause this year, pushing further restrictions.
Single-use plastics and polystyrene are expected to be banned starting Jan in at least 7 countries around the Caribbean.
Starting this year the Government of Jamaica launched their ban on the local distribution, manufacture, and use of polystyrene foam (also known as Styrofoam) for products that are sold in the food and beverage market. They already moved to ban plastic bags and straws awhile back.
Jamaica has been known to have one of the highest per capita uses of plastic bags of any country in the world; the average person is said to contribute at least 500 bags per year.
The tourism industry, such as the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, has also expressed support for the ban. But it has caused some confusion with the people living there, leaving them to wonder what they might use as a container for their waste and for that reason garbage bags have allegedly been left out of the ban for now.
As well, some other single-use plastic bags also won't be considered such as those bags which are used for packaging raw meat or sugar, flour, and other food items.
In Jamaica they have been working for years now to try and restore the coral reefs in the region and those behind the initiative claim that their efforts have been working and that new life is coming back to the ocean in the region. Some think that the new plastic bag ban and Styrofoam crackdown is going to ultimately help to reduce a great deal of the garbage that is cluttering the ocean in the region.
Aside from plastic bags that will be caught up under the plastic ban, other items like straws and cups are also being targeted.
They've already fined more than 40 businesses.
Wanting to protect the environment or reduce waste is fine and admirable, when done so voluntarily, but making criminals out of those who disobey these sorts of edicts seems a bit much. Perhaps using this level of violence to try and address the issue of garbage is not the only way to approach the problem or even the best way to attempt addressing it.