St. Vincent and the Grenadines will implement a ban on the importation of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam, known by the trade mark brand, Styrofoam, as of May 1, this year.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in delivering his budget address in Parliament yesterday announced that this prohibition on Styrofoam is part of the government’s thrust to promote a green economy and environment.
Dr. Gonsalves also announced that the government will be removing Value Added Tax (VAT) on biodegradable packaging and food containers.
“This measure is intended to lower the cost of these environmentally positive substitutes for plastics including Styrofoam, and reduce the adverse effects that plastics have on our environment,” the Prime Minister said.
When this ban on Styrofoam comes into effect, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will join a number of countries around the world that have implemented such a measure.
On January 1, 2016 the Antigua and Barbuda government banned the import and use of Styrofoam products and non- biodegradable plastic bags.
And effective April 1, 2016, Guyana also implemented a ban on the importation of and use of Styrofoam.
In the Caribbean region, Styrofoam – which is primarily used in the food service industry, makes up about 5% of solid waste. The indiscriminate dumping of it not only causes unsightly garbage pileups, but also clogs waterways and creates severe flooding.