Baby Steps To Big Leaps In Reducing Carbon Footprint

Progress in the making. I have long condemned the plastic and Styrofoam culture that plagues Jamaica. Rest assured, many a household never buy garbage bags due to the large surplus of plastic bags they have accumulated each time they pass through a cashier. Be it at the supermarket, corner market, pharmacy… you get it. Everyone gets plastic bags Add to that the stockpile of Styrofoam that each town and parish accumulates over the course of a month and you have merely a modicum of an idea of how much non-recyclable materials we welcome into our lives for a short duration and dispense into the earth to remain for centuries. It is interesting how quickly we forget our trash yet we seem to have no problem prolonging our relationship with our plastic and Styrofoam products, since quite frankly, some of it will remain on this earth long after you and I are gone. And that’s not a good thing.

It is a move that European counties are now implementing and now the Jamaican government is stepping up to the task. I do comment the effort. The Government of Jamaica is set to announce the proposed ban on single use plastic and Styrofoam at a conference on Monday. According to an advisory, Daryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for the Land, Environment, and Climate Change is to address the ceremony at the Banquet Hall, Jamaica House. (Jamaica Observer)

“We’re moving towards a ban on single-use plastic, but while we do so, we’re also working on a Plastic Minimisation Project in collaboration with United Nations Environment, and with the support of the Government of Japan, to reduce and manage plastic marine litter from the land-based activities, in an environmentally sound matter,” he had informed at the opening of a regional environmental workshop at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on September 4.

This commendable move will undoubtedly pose a culture shock for some. Despite the fact that not long ago, we did eat out of lunch boxes that we’re actually boxes, cardboard boxes, disposable, recyclable and most importantly biodegradable boxes. Think of it as feeding the earth, not poisoning it. This is our only environment and yes, we do have a responsibility to take care of her as she does us.

May I make a few recommendations?

  1. Walk with your own mug. Or cup, or thermos when drinking hot beverages. I hang out regularly at Mi Yard in Negril and the amount of Styrofoam thrown away pains me. This is the least I can do.
  1. Get cotton, canvas or hemp bags. Natural and reusable is what we’re going for. Be fashionable with it. Make a statement. Check out some of the items we have listed here.
  1. Stop using straws They are largely pointless, save lipstick and they do come in the reusable variety. Look for them, invest in your future and do your part.
  1. Encourage others. The one thing that gets ahead of people is the daunting task of actually making a difference. That is not your initial objective. You’re doing yru part and every little bit counts. And it’s contagious Try it for a few months, you’re likely to make a few new like-minded friends along the way. You’ll be smiling just because you started something and it does make a difference. Baby steps.

~ #IamAGanjactivist aka M. Omari Jsckson

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