The government will implement a total ban all common plastics and Styrofoam which will come into effect from January 2019. The new legislation has been established following a lengthy campaign by environmental activists to highlight the damage plastics is doing to the beautiful landscape in the Dominican Republic.
The primary objective according to the Dominican Republic Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is to preserve its natural beauty, and eliminate the damage it is doing to the environment.
In a statement announcing the new legislation, the Prime Minister said, "Dominica prides itself as the ‘Nature Isle’. We must in every way deserve and reflect that designation. The issue of solid waste management affects that perception and we continue to grapple with it."
Similar plastic bans have already been implemented in a host of other countries including the UK. The UK’s progressive approach to environmental issues has drawn acclaim from other nations who have identified the UK as a benchmark in its approach to alleviating the damage caused by plastics and Styrofoam.
A recent study indicated that there has been a significant drop in the number of bags on the UK’s beaches since a plastic bag tax was introduced in 2015. Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand and Australia has followed suit, although there was controversy when major Australian grocer Coles backed out of the ban.
Major businesses such as coffee conglomerate Starbucks and Disney have also announced that they intend to get rid of plastic straws. But the objective of the Dominica Republic is much, much higher. The country has made it clear it wants to be the world’s first climate-resilient nation.
The full list of items that will be banned in Dominica has yet to be finalized, but the government says it will include plastic straws, plastic plates, plastic forks, plastic knives, Styrofoam cups and Styrofoam containers.
The effects of global warming and climate change have been felt more in the Caribbean nation than most with the country still reeling from Hurricane Maria which devastated the island in September 2017. The new initiative and program is seen as a measure for the country to incubate itself from future natural disasters.
The Prime Minister said in his address, "Extreme weather events are now more frequent and intense, brought on by climate-change impacts that are real, visible, devastating and unrelenting. We must rebuild and reset our society and economy - and protect our environment in order to achieve a new, more resilient Dominica."