BVI News

Premier faces petition to ban plastic straws

A resident, Jane Tyrrell, has been getting support as she pushes to have Premier Dr D Orlando Smith ban plastic straws and Styrofoam containers from the British Virgin Islands.

Through an online petition that started in May, she, so far, has amassed 429 of the 500 signatures she is seeking under her effort headlined: Ban Plastic Straws and Styrofoam Containers from the British Virgin Islands.

Explaining the rationale for the petition, which can be located at change.org, Tyrrell said: “There is too much pollution on these beautiful islands and in our seas surrounding them. It’s time to take action and ban all plastic drink straws and all Styrofoam containers from the British Virgin Islands.”

“If other countries can implement similar bans, surely we can too! We are responsible for keeping our world clean and safe, and this is one small and easy step we can take,” added Tyrrell.

One of the supporters, Jeffrey Ross, explained why he signed the petition. “Please keep Nature’s Little Secret safe for all of nature’s creatures. A short walk on the Beef Island bluff will illustrate how much plastic and Styrofoam garbage ends up in the Channel. Straws are particularly dangerous.”

It is not the first time that suggestions are being made for Government to clamp down especially on Styrofoam material.

Nearly two years ago, a group of researchers associated with the Island Resources Foundation recommended various possible solutions, including a ban or tax on Styrofoam containers.

“A tax could be placed on Styrofoam containers to serve as a disincentive to use such products,” the researchers said during the launch of their publication entitled The British Virgin Islands Environmental Profile Series (Tortola edition).

The researchers further suggested: “[There could be] levies and deposit systems for difficult-to-manage waste streams such as cars, batteries, tyres, and Styrofoam. For example, a deposit is made when a battery is purchased, which is refunded when the product has served its useful life and improperly disposed of.”

In the meantime, in 2013, some supermarkets in the territory voluntarily implemented a conditional ban on plastic bags. With support from the government, the supermarket operators also controversially started to charge 15 cents for each plastic bag in an effort to reduce their usage, and to promote reusable bags.

However, the group of environmental researchers mentioned earlier stated that the voluntary ban on plastic bags was not effective, adding that lawmakers should instead pass laws to institute a ban.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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