Jamaican businesses defying the ban on single-use plastics and Styrofoam products are being taken to court as the government moves to ensure the measure gets complete compliance.
While admitting that there has been overwhelming support for the ban, Daryl Vaz of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation announced that more than two dozen businesses will have to face the courts soon for failing to comply with the restrictions that took effect on Jan. 1 last year.
He said six businesses have already been fined under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition) Order, 2018, and “30 other businesses and individuals will face the courts in the coming weeks, making a total of 36 businesses prosecuted, up to the present”.
Vaz said warning notices had been issued to the non-compliant persons and companies before enforcement action was taken.
The Minister said that while prosecution is never the preferred strategy, the government saw the need to put in place fines for those who are non-compliant, and to ensure that the legislative backing is in place, should enforcement of the ban become a challenge.
The maximum fine is J$2 million (US$15,000) and carries a term of imprisonment of two years.
Vaz also disclosed that the Jamaica Customs Agency has also complied at the ports of entry by confiscating banned items, preventing them from entering the trade.
He added that, since the ban, the country has witnessed a pronounced reduction of plastics in the terrestrial and marine environment.