Roban: think twice on single-use plastics

  • Environmental message: Walter Roban

The public were asked yesterday to avoid single-use plastics on the Bermuda Day holiday to help protect the environment.

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said that people should “think twice” before using single-use plastics like cups, plates, cutlery and straws over the holiday and if they do use them, they should dispose of them with care. Government plans to end the use of throwaway plastics by 2022.

Mr Roban said: “We as a planet have become very reliant on plastics and we use them for just about everything that we do because it’s incredibly convenient. This convenience comes at a serious price.

“The Plastic Oceans Trust has estimated that 80 per cent of the marine debris around the globe is generated from plastics.

“Eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year, and by the year 2050 they have predicted that there will be more plastic then fish in the ocean.”

He encouraged responsible disposal of garbage and to consider reusable options.

He said: “Many retailers around the island have begun to offer reusable straws, utensils, cups and more.

“I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of these and explore alternative products when purchasing other plastic products for your general use.”

Mr Roban said the Government was drafting legislation to phase out single-use plastics and would consult with community groups to help end their importation.

He added: “It will be a phased approach so that by 2022 Bermuda can be where we have planned to be, which is plastic free, from the standpoint that we will not be importing additional single-use plastics into the country.

“As we roll out these phases, we will be moving certain items out of the picture.

“Perhaps straws and those types of items will be first and we will move up the chain.”

Mr Roban added: “This is a part of the process. We want to tell people to begin to look for other options now because over the next two years you will see a phased approach leading to total elimination.”