Guyana has started to implement a series of measures geared towards banning the importation and use of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam, known by the trade mark brand, Styrofoam, as of January 1.
On Saturday, the Ministry of the Presidency announced that this is part of the government’s thrust to promote a green economy and environment.
According to the statement, the Cabinet has already granted approval for the immediate development of a legal framework to implement the ban on the importation and use of the product as well as a public awareness program to educate the public on the consequences of its usage and the benefits of alternatives.
The decision follows a series of consultations which were previously held with industry operators, importers and other key stakeholders.
“It is hoped that this initiative will see a significant reduction in the effects of polystyrene foam products on solid waste management in Guyana and its negative impact on the environment, while leading to the further development of new enterprises in the alternatives sector,“ the government said in a statement.
“The improper disposal of the single use item has been, and remains a threat to human health and the wider environment, incurring clean up and disposal costs amounting to millions of dollars, a cost borne by the tax paying public,” said the Ministry of the Presidency.
The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment will be collaborating with the Ministries of Business, Legal Affairs, and Finance via the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), to implement the ban.
Polystyrene foam makes up about 2-5 per cent of the waste stream here and is widely used in the food service industry.