(SNO) — With regional countries such as Dominica moving to ban styrofoam products, the executive director of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Brian Louisy, believes that the government of Saint Lucia should seek to utilize fiscal policy to ‘incentivize’ the more rapid transfer towards biodegradable and environmentally-friendly products.
The Chamber met recently with the Department of Sustainable Development to discuss the country’s intention to phase out the use of and ban the importation of single-use plastics and Styrofoam.
According to Louisy, some of the steps that should be taken by the government, include revising import duties and other charges on environmentally-friendly alternatives downward or even eliminating them and increasing those on the traditional products.
“Many countries including neighboring islands have and are banning single-use plastics and Styrofoam, so Saint Lucia will be joining a global trend, albeit late,” he stated. “Moreover, manufacturers of these products are already transitioning into more environmentally-friendly alternatives.”
Louisy also noted that, “local players are already converting their practices, with Massy Stores, Sandals and Bay Gardens for instance”.
This, he said, is a clear and powerful statement on the private sectors’ preparedness to move to be more environmentally friendly in their operations.
The Chamber executive director said that it is important that a clear program setting out the phase-out period, dates for the termination of imports, and banning the use of these products is shared with the public and business community early to ensure its smooth execution.
He said that he is confident this can be done based on the work that the Department of Sustainable Development has already done.
The meeting agreed that the cost of disposing plastics and their extensive negative impact on the environment can be reduced by the banning and eliminating single-use plastic and styrofoam products.