The time may have come for Barbados to reconsider to use of plastic bags, especially in the supermarkets.
This assessment was made in the Upper House this evening by Senator David Durant as he made his contribution to discussions on the acquisition of land at Vaucluse, St. Thomas for Government’s new proposed solid waste management project.
The senator told his colleagues and the rest of Barbados that the time had come for a shift in behaviour that would see shoppers walking with their own bags to the supermarkets thereby reducing the use of plastic bags on the island.
“It will call for a lot of change because I think it is time for Barbadians to separate garbage from paper. I think the time has come for us to start doing that. I have seen it in other developed countries and it is time that we are trained and told to start doing this because of the retrofitting of our solid waste disposal plant. Once this is started, I think it is also important … to retrofit that plant to accommodate a number of other things.”
Calling it an “innovative piece of technology”, the senator said once the project was up and running, the island would see transformed infrastructure that could lead to greater productivity in the management of solid waste.
“Talking about that, I am wondering if the time hasn’t come for us to even consider the use of plastic bags in our supermarkets. I have gone to supermarkets in developed countries, I was so embarrassed one time waiting with my goods and waiting for the plastic bag to come and the cashier said that’s it. I had to pick up everything in my hand and walk to the back of the car… I am wondering if the time hasn’t come for us to start thinking that way because we are using a lot of plastic bags.
“We go in spend $100 and leave with six or seven plastic bags… So all that is adding to our situation of garbage or waste. Some are biodegradable, but not all are. Also, a lot of foreign exchange has gone into buying these plastic bags and I wonder if the time has come for us to start walking with a bag and packing them in and going home and taking them out.”
Giving his full support to the resolution, Durant said: “The Government’s idea to pursue a policy of generating energy from solid waste to me is long overdue, something that should have been done ever since, especially in a small island developing state like Barbados of 166 square miles. We can only facilitate a certain amount of landfills around the island and the time may come when we have no more space because we have residents and quite a number of other important things occupying land space.
“So anything to reduce the rate of a landfill being filled up; anything that will contribute to longevity, for example in converting solid waste into energy is very commendable and something that should have happened 15 or 20 years ago, if we have started by now in 2013 we would have been sailing quite good,” he said.
Solid waste management, Durant contended was “big money and big business” in the developing world. He further expressed the view that any means Barbados could use to earn foreign exchange while saving the island money was an initiative that would receive his favour. (LB)