Residents encouraged to look beyond cost after ‘Styrofoam’ ban

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Regional and local experts with interest in the environment have agreed that changing to bio-degradable products will cost more money than using polystyrene (aka Styrofoam), but said that the benefits will far outweigh the costs.
They also concurred that as the bio-degradable products become more available and widespread, the costs will go down significantly.
Camille Roopnarine, an environmental engineer and advocate educator for the polystyrene ban in Trinidad and Tobago, said much emphasis is being placed on cost when the dialogue really should be changed to look more closely at the long-term benefits.
“When you look at it, over the full life term, the bio-degradable is cheaper. But I do understand the concerns, and one must also bear in mind the fact that the government needs to give financial incentives to users who may be less willing to make the change,” Roopnarine said.
The comments come as the government of Antigua and Barbuda seeks to implement the various stages of a plan to ban polystyrene products.
Trinidad and Tobago has taken smaller steps to ban polystyrene, a commonly used product worldwide.
So far, members of the Antigua and Barbuda Poultry Farmers Association have complained about the costs associated with purchasing the environmentally-friendly alternative to polystyrene egg boxes.
Other members of the business community have also made similar comments.
Meanwhile, Aretha Forde, an environmental officer with Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said littering and illegal dumping had reduced significantly since the country decided to impose the ban as of April 1, 2016.
She said the success was due to imposed legislation and complementary programmes which were introduced over time.
The EPA in that country also worked with other agencies to ensure compliance.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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