An environmental advocate who worked closely with Government on its ban on single-use plastics is pleading with the Barbados National Standards Institute (BNSI) and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy to also prohibit all harmful plastic alternatives.
Public Relations Officer of the Future Centre Trust, Kammie Holder made the call on Friday as he insisted that despite the challenges the current ban faces, it should not be derailed.
Policy makers have been silent ever since a report emerged that some alternatives to plastics contain high levels of fluorine which reportedly poses a threat to consumers’ health.
While the environmental advocate could not speak to the dangers of consuming fluorine, he said that amid the safety concerns, the country’s regulators should compile a list of safe plastic alternative products, and ban all others.
“The Barbados National Standards Institute should get involved and should get a list of acceptable alternatives. It is as simple as that,” he contended, as he also expressed concern that the agency, which is charged with regulating products for consumption, might not have the necessary staff or the technical know-how.
“They really need to step up to the mandate. They need to step up to the plate and be more visible in terms of educating the people on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable within the country.”
Holder suggested that, until Government gets its act together, Barbadians should use household containers to store purchased food.
“I remember many years ago, as a child growing up, we would normally take our own milk bottles to collect milk, and not so long after that people would have taken their own food containers for black pudding and souse. There are already establishments in this country giving a discount of 50 cents and even a dollar to bring your own containers, so we need to reinvent ourselves.
“If you go to the UK, today as we speak, you can bring your own container for your vegetable oil, peas, sugar and flour, because that is the way most supermarkets are going. You have to bring your own containers,” he highlighted.
Holder was also adamant that the ban on plastics, which came into effect at the start of July, should remain in place.
“Government has acted in the best interest of the country and I have full confidence in the Minister of Maritime Affairs because we are always in discussion on these issues,” he said.