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Plastic bag ban pressure grows

Plastic bag ban pressure grows

Monday 10 February 2020

Plastic bag ban pressure grows


Pressure is growing on the government to ban plastic bags after over 1,000 islanders threw their weight behind the cause just one week after the Environment Minister said he'd stop importing them "tomorrow" if he could.

The Minister, Deputy John Young, said during last week's States Assembly meeting that he would be bringing the idea to the Council of Ministers for further discussion, noting that support would also be needed from the Infrastructure, Home Affairs and Economic Development Ministers to make it a reality.

The comments came following calls from his fellow politicians to implement a ban. 

Deputy Rob Ward, whose proposals saw the States Assembly declare a 'climate emergency' in Jersey, called for the island to "be brave and take the lead".

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Pictured: Deputy Rob Ward, who brought proposals to declare a climate emergency last year, told the government to "be brave".

Now, little more than a week later, islanders have added their voices to the campaign, with an e-petition describing plastic carrier bags as "harmful to the environment and unnecessary in today’s world" gaining more than 1,000 signatures.

"Jersey has plans to reduce its carbon footprint, and banning the selling and distribution of all new plastic carrier bags in Jersey will help both aims," it read.

petition requires 1,000 signatures to receive a response from ministers, and 5,000 to be considered for debate in the States Assembly. 

Having reached the first goal, the plastic bag petition will now receive a response from Ministers.

“I love that more and more people are fighting for the environment in the many forms it is taking shape," local environmental campaigner Sheena Brockie said in response to the e-petition.

Sheena Brockie

Pictured: Sheena Brockie

“I’m excited that there are so many people engaging with the environment in the form of signing this particular petition.” 

Sheena explained that the petitions' demands should inform the development of the government's future Waste Strategy.

Originally published in 2005, the strategy aimed to "change the way we look at waste in Jersey", but is now in need of a revisit. 

According to the Minister for Infrastructure's response to a Scrutiny Panel's report on reducing plastics locally, which was published in 2019, the aim is to have a new strategy lodged by the end of 2020. 

“The question really is, has the Waste Strategy work commenced as yet?” Sheena said.

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Pictured: The Environment Minister said he would support a ban on single-use carrier bags.

In other countries, steps are being taken to reduce and ban single-use plastic bags.

China recently revealed plans for major cities to ban them by the end of 2020, and for all cities and villages to have done so by 2022. 

Alternatives to single-use plastic bags are also being explored and rolled out.

Entrepreneur Daphna Nissenbaum has developed compostable plastic bags that are now being used by UK supermarkets, such as Waitrose and Ocado. 

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Comments

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Posted by John Henwood on
I think Minister Young has lost the plot. Desperate to play to the eco lobby, he knows perfectly well that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with plastic bags, or any other plastic articles. The problem is disposing of them. So, don’t blame the bags, blame the lazy, stupid people who dispose of them carelessly. As with so many of life’s problems the answer lies not in legislation, but in education.
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