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(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – Twelve businesses in western Jamaica were today convicted in the St James and Trelawny Parish Courts for breaches of the ban on single-use plastics, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has reported.
According to NEPA, the establishments convicted, which included, restaurants, grocery and clothing stores were fined sums ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 or a term of one-year imprisonment at hard labour.
NEPA said that 22 matters were heard today by the Parish Courts in relation to breaches pursuant to the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (Plastic Packaging Materials Prohibition [PPM]) Order, specifically single-use bags and straws.
Of the 22 entities, 12 entered guilty pleas and were convicted. Matters relating to the ten companies who entered not-guilty pleas will be heard by the Courts on April 16.
“Jamaica has moved into the second phase of its ban on single-use plastics with the prohibition of expanded polystyrene foam food and beverage containers. Sadly, some businesses still do not believe that they can survive without using scandal bags and plastic straws, which were banned since January 1, 2019,” Philip Cross, Counsel for NEPA, who prosecuted the matters noted.
“Regardless, the Agency and its partners at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, the Jamaica Customs Agency and the Jamaica Constabulary Force stand ready to take enforcement action when necessary,” he added.
The on-going enforcement drive is as a result of a comprehensive enforcement and compliance strategy that the Government of Jamaica has operationalised. Failure to comply with the ban may result in criminal charges, NEPA warned.
The public is reminded that it is an offence to import, manufacture, distribute or use single-use plastic bags of dimensions not exceeding 24×24 inches and 1.2 mils in thickness; and plastic drinking straws. The importation, manufacture, distribution and use of expanded polystyrene foam products used in the food and beverage industry is also prohibited. Breaches of the PPM Prohibition Orders can be reported to NEPA by calling 876-285-8531, 875-754-7540 or toll-free 888-991-9005 or by emailing [email protected]
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