Oceana Belize congratulates the Government and people of Belize on the decision announced today to commence the phase out of single use plastic shopping bags, Styrofoam and plastic food utensils by April 22nd 2019. This decision is welcomed by the thousands of Belizeans who have participated in numerous clean up initiatives country wide for many years and have seen the devastating impacts of single use plastic and Styrofoam on our world renowned natural resources.

As noted in today’s joint press release by the Ministries of Economic Development, Tourism and Environment, single use plastic bags, sytrofoam containers and plastic utensils represent 19% of the solid waste volume in the municipal waste stream.

As a staunch advocate for this move, Oceana has been proud to support the Belizean businesses who have already launched innovative and affordable alternatives to these items such as glass and bamboo straws as well as clam shells and other food containers made from biodegradable and compostable material. We also highlight that many businesses have included these types of alternatives in their inventory to meet consumer demands. Moreover, Oceana has been proud to work with the communities of San Pedro and Placencia who, in the best interest of their tourism product, are already leading the way on making this transition.

This policy change will once again place Belize among the world leaders in the safeguarding of our natural resources from the harmful effects of single use plastics and Styrofoam,” says Oceana’s Vice President in Belize, Janelle Chanona. “We are confident that by localizing the experiences of Caribbean countries like Antigua and Barbuda and our friends in Taiwan, this shift can be both successful and beneficial on multiple fronts.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.oceana.org to learn more.