In the fight against the importation of single-use plastics, Oceana Belize has written to the Department of Environment querying the application form for the approved list of plastics that can still be imported.

According to Oceana's field representative, Ryan Rivera, approved plastics would include those used in the medical field. However, Rivera believes the list contains certain items that defeat the purpose of phasing out the single-use plastics.

Ryan Rivera, Field Representative, Oceana Belize
"We see that some of these options are supposed to be banned yet there's a form that allows for the importation of these same prohibited items. Some of them we understand can be used for medical or for pharmaceuticals but some of them that are listed as options, we can't understand how they will be used in those fields and also there's no guarantee in the form itself that those imported prohibited items will be destined solely to those fields."

"I can use the straw for example, I mean the straw is listed as an option. It's a prohibited item, yet in the form its listed as an option and the justification for these options need to be either in the medical field, the pharmaceutical field, or are barrier bags or packaging. However, there is already existing alternatives for straw and I cannot see straws being used as barrier plastics and I cannot see straws being used as pharmaceutical equipment and as medical items either."

Another item that is also expected to be phased out is Styrofoam. There are many Styrofoam products that are disguised as a greener alternative designed to trick consumers, but Rivera stated that it is important to read the packaging.

Ryan Rivera, Field Representative, Oceana Belize
"You can read the back of the packaging of the product. Unless it says material that has been certified as bio gradable then its regular foam. And if it has PS that means its polystyrene and polystyrene is regular form."

"Those products are also listed as what would be stopped under the act. The importation should have stopped but we understand that due to the current pandemic, some dates were extended. But that type of product is one that should be off the shelves by this phase out."

Oceana is hoping for a response from DOE by the end of the week.

Channel 7