The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has come out in support of the Government’s ban on single use plastic bags more commonly referred to as scandal bags, as well as Styrofoam containers and plastic drinking straws.
The ban took effect on January 1.
The JCC, in statement, said the “spirit of the ban will support and endorse some fundamental Christian environmental stewardship principles.”
These include: an acknowledgement that all elements of the created order are of intrinsic worth and should be valued. The aesthetic integrity of the land and aquatic environments is to be preserved; an endorsement of the need for humans to care for all of creation as given in the Genesis mandate; and an approach that is almost non-anthropocentric at the heart and places ‘others’ (including other living and non-living forms) at the centre of focus.
There is however, ultimately a human benefit, the JCC said.
The JCC conceded that the extent to which the ban will positively impact the reduction in the volume of plastic waste in the country is unknown. However, it said the initiative will be encouraged and adopted by the Church community.
“We are aware of the deleterious effect that plastics have been known to have on marine life as well as humans. The JCC therefore congratulates the Government on this first step to positively change the dynamic of solid waste management in the country, which we consider to be a significant issue,” the JCC said.
It added that: “The Church supports this positive first step but urges the Government to move quickly to develop a more comprehensive programme of solid waste management in the country having regard to its importance to public health, building climate resilience, improving the quality of life of our people and providing opportunities for economic growth and job creation.”
According to the council, it acknowledges the misunderstanding, uncertainty and confusion which have been evident in some sections of the society suggesting the need for further public education.
“The JCC therefore urges the Government to provide more information on how the ban will be rolled out, as well as to encourage the production and access to affordable eco-friendly alternatives which can make the transition easier for both retailers and consumers,” it said.
By: Claude Mills