REPORT #22 1998

Produced by the Belize Development Trust
Caricom Caribbean countries have not yet tackled legislation to control the spread of plastic garbage in their very small countries. Some of them are literally becoming buried in non degradable plastics and rusting vehicle hulks. At some point in time, it will probably pay a compacter machine to come in and squeeze vehicle hulks into square blocks of metal that can be melted down and made into rebar. But plastic! Now there is a real problem. Most plastics imported into the very small Caribbean countries are non bio degradable. While environmentalists and some concerned citizens have brought the matter up periodically, there has been no vision from politicians using the Westminster failed parliamentary system.

Yet the solution is so simple. Simply legislate and prohibit any import of plastic that is not bio-degradable. Depending on whether it is packaging or construction material, the plastic should have different life terms. Packaging materials, not longer than 8 years. Construction material about 25 years.

There is even an advantage to this type of legislation. It would force the local business entrepreneurs to import in bulk and repackage themselves with bio-degradable plastic containers. A small machine can make the bottles and containers of all types. A ready made import substitution industry. Or the local clay deposits of the Maya can be re-activated with potters wheels and a cottage industry of pottery and clay containers developed.

However the solution comes, to protect the pristine nature of the countries that Caribbean people live in. They are losing it so fast to junk, garbage, non degradable plastics at an ever increasing rate, that one day soon, there will be no tourist industry. Unless one wants to visit beaches and tourist sites buried in plastic garbage. En masse, the politicians of the British Caribbean have failed dismally to confront this growing problem with any kinds of legislative solutions.

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