Minister without Portfolio at the Department of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Matthew Samuda, said the government will pursue a mix of legislative and policy actions over the next year and a half to improve solid waste management .
He was speaking to The Gleaner this morning as he took part in a beach clean-up exercise organized by the JN Foundation at Sirgany Beach on Kingston Harbor east of Kingston.
He pointed out that recycling incentive programs will be intensified over the next 12 to 18 months with the goal of encouraging greater recycling compliance and reducing the burden on the solid waste management agency. State.
“Plastics make up around 15% of your waste stream, any percentage point reduction means we need fewer lorries for collection, so if people are incentivized to physically transport to central points, that reduces the costs and issues associated with trucking,” he said. , pointing out that although the plastic is light, it is bulky and takes up a lot of space.
The incentive program will run alongside changes to the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act and the National Solid Waste Management Act, which is expected to be spearheaded by Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie .
“We have the power to make legislative changes and we will make them,” he said.
An assessment of environmental policies will also be undertaken, the minister said, alongside the implementation of another phase of the plastic ban. However, he revealed that the pressures of the current global environment have affected the implementation of the other phases of the ban.
“We have to be very mindful that there are global supply chain issues and there are global inflationary pressures, so we are looking very seriously at the next phases and how they are handled,” he said. -he declares.
Beyond legislative and recycling efforts, Samuda also said infrastructure deficiencies must be addressed to handle the country’s 830,000 tonnes of residential waste each year, including a large fleet of trucks and better accessibility to some communities. Across the country.
“Because of the way we have developed in an unstructured way, many communities are inaccessible to vehicles collecting litter,” he said.
“So this is a multi-layered problem, very complex and it’s not free,” he said, but cautioned that inaction comes at an even higher cost.
A combined force of approximately 100 volunteers from the JN ACT! ON, whose group ambassador JN, check-in agent Sasco and volunteers from the non-profit organization Earth Ambassadors, collected several kilos of plastic waste along the beach this morning.
A similar mobilization effort was also led by GraceKennedy a few yards away in Rae Town.