Careen Prevost, PS in Ministry responsible for the Environment. File photo

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry responsible for the Environment, Careen Prevost, has said Dominica is well on its way to ban the use of Styrofoam and plastic items in the New Year.

The ban is part of the government’s vision of making Dominica the first climate resilient country in the world.

 “In the 2018/2019 budget address, the Prime Minister announced that in keeping with our vision to become the world’s first climate resilient country, Dominica will be taking certain measures to protect our environment and keep Dominica clean and green as the nature isle,” she stated. “So, one of these measure would be a ban on importation of plastics that are used in the food service industry as a start with effect from January 1st 2019.”

According to Prevost, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Resilience, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal has been working along with the other partners and stakeholders in the industry and has made recommendations to Cabinet to which Cabinet has approved.

She said some of these recommendations will include a reduction in the duties or application of zero percent duties on biodegradable alternatives to use of plastics in the food service.

“Also an application of 0% duty on reusable shopping bags and that we believe is a step in the right direction which will assist in reducing the cost of the biodegradable alternatives,” Prevost stated.

Meantime, she said the ministry, along with customs and trade, has met with the importers and are currently in the process of meeting with the stakeholders in the food service industry.

“We have a series of community meetings as well, which we will be holding over the next few weeks, along with radio programmes and a public awareness campaign including a social media campaign and all other forms of media,” she revealed.

“But basically what we are trying to do is to work along with the stakeholders, DAIC, DHTA, the Ministry of Commerce, Invest Dominica Authority and all of the partners both in the private and public sector to bring the awareness about the plastic ban and also to ensure that individuals are prepared, they are ready and understand what the alternatives are,” Prevost added.

She said further that the ministry is encouraging everyone to start the process right now, “don’t wait for January…”