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Federal Cabinet Approves Three-phased Ban on Single-use Plastic Items in St. Kitts and Nevis

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 26, 2024 (SKNIS): In a landmark move towards preserving the environment and advancing sustainability, the Federal Cabinet of St. Kitts and Nevis has announced the implementation of a phased ban on single-use plastics. The announcement, made in the National Assembly on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, by Senator the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, Minister of Environment, Climate Action, and Constituency Empowerment, marks a pivotal step in the nation’s environmental policy.

The ban will be rolled out in three stages, targeting the importation, sale, and distribution of specific single-use plastic products. The initial phase, starting December 31, 2024, will see the ban on importing T-shirt plastic shopping bags, followed by a prohibition on their sale and distribution by March 31, 2025. The second phase will commence with a ban on importing Styrofoam food containers and plastic straws by April 30, 2025, and their sale and distribution by July 31, 2025. In its final phase, the ban will extend to the importation of single-use plastic cups, plates, and utensils by August 31, 2025, with these items no longer being sold or distributed by November 30, 2025.

The move is in line with similar actions taken by several countries in the Caribbean including Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Eustatius, Saint. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. All twelve countries have placed a ban on the use and import of single-use plastics and Styrofoam.

Reflecting on the landmark decision made by the Federal Cabinet of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Clarke passionately shared the significance of this moment for the country’s environmental future.

“Tuesday, March 26, 2024, marks a significant milestone for environmental protection for St. Kitts and Nevis. This action is a testament to our unwavering commitment to protect our natural environment and foster a sustainable future for our nation,” said Dr. Clarke. 

Senator Dr. Clarke said that St. Kitts and Nevis’ commitment to environmental stewardship and transitioning to a sustainable island state requires the input, collaboration, partnership and policy adjustment of every ministry and sector. 

“I am compelled to remind every Kittitian and Nevisian that every small action collectively, creates major movements in recycling, upcycling and limiting the use of plastics,” said Dr. Clarke. “The small changes today will lead to incremental improvements in human and environmental health.” 

The initiative falls in line with several United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including Good Health & Well-being, Clean Water & Sanitation, Sustainable Cities & Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life below Water, and Life on Land.

With this move, St. Kitts and Nevis joins a growing list of over 100 countries in implementing a full or partial ban on single-use plastics. According to Senator Clarke, this policy is a precursor to the anticipated Environmental Protection Bill 2024, formally known as the Restriction on Single-Use-Plastic Bill, further solidifying the Federation’s environmental conservation efforts.

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