WHY THE BAN
Plastic pollution is impacting our waters and marine life, as well as our food chain and health. Like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), The Bahamas is in urgent need of solving its plastic dependency problem for the sake of the environment, economy and welfare of its people.
plastic is not only unsightly on our beautiful beaches - it can be deadly.
Larger plastics break down and release chemical pollutants and greenhouse gases. The bits of micro-plastic that are produced in the process are ingested by marine life and seabirds, which can cause poisoning and intestinal blockages leading to death. Animals can also become entangled in discarded fishing nets. Floating plastic can effectively transport invasive plants, animals and diseases to islands and regions where they wash up. Plastic contamination is passed from prey to predator, ultimately reaching the apex of the food chain - humans. Essentially, we are ingesting our own plastic waste through negligent and irresponsible use and disposal of these materials.
styrofoam is hazardous to both our health and our environment.
Without thinking, we willingly store our food in containers that are manufactured with poisonous greenhouse gases (contributing to global warming). Even worse, when these containers are heated in microwaves, styrofoam releases fluorocarbons into the air and into your meal. Chemical leaching from styrofoam, a process where heat omitted by the food or drink within the container causes the release of toxins, has been linked to acute medical conditions. Styrofoam-related health woes are also a concern for our environment and all the critters that stumble across styrofoam debris in their habitat.
TOURISTS COME FOR THE BEACHES, NOT FOR THE TRASH.
Given our geographic location and our blissful natural environment, tourism is one of the primary industries that keeps our economy moving. A survey done by the Ministry of Tourism found that 70% of visitors come to The Bahamas for its beaches. Providing protection to communities during hurricanes and from storm surge, beaches are ecologically and culturally important to Bahamians. It is vital that we phase out single-use plastics and styrofoam to protect our land and marine environments to preserve the tourism industry and our economy.
BYE BYE BALLOONS.
The release of balloons into the atmosphere is also a major concern as they end up in our oceans, releasing toxins and injuring marine life, which ultimately affects our environment and health. Aside from these threats, helium balloons are also a big contributor to the depletion of helium gas, which is a finite resource.
A VISION FOR CHANGE
HOW THE BAN WILL HAPPEN
We are tapping into something entirely new for The Bahamas and simultaneously joining a global movement towards sustainable living through the elimination of plastic and styrofoam contaminants. By implementing a single-use plastic and Styrofoam ban, The Bahamas will join more than 40 countries around the world, including parts of the United States, The United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Kenya, Rwanda, Haiti, and Antigua and Barbuda, that have already enforced or are in the process of formulating bans on selected plastic and Styrofoam products.
In launching this environmentally-focused movement, we hope to spark enthusiasm and energy so that the 2020 Plastic Ban can be the catalyst that leads to other groundbreaking environmental policies within our island nation.
Reduce the presence of litter within our communities and the marine environment
Reduce waste sent to the landfill
Reduce human health impacts associated with Styrofoam food containers
Reduce the incidence of marine species entanglement, ingestion, suffocation, and death
Inaction threatens native species and our entire ecosystem, which supports the Bahamian economy and our quality of life. Globally, we are beginning to understand the scale of the problem and The Ministry of Environment & Health has made it its mission to clean up the mess. We are working to develop effective solutions to the overarching issue of landfills and the disgraceful presence of scattered dumpsites throughout the archipelago. The longer we leave the plastic and styrofoam problem unmanaged, the more difficult and expensive it will be to correct. The time for action is now. Join us as we move Towards a Plastic Free Bahamas.