Private sector interests seeking a delay in the ban on Styrofoam have stepped up their agitation for an intervention to stop the ban scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2020.
Government Senator Matthew Samuda, has confirmed that the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) has written to the Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth with responsibility for the Environment, Daryl Vaz, seeking dialogue on the issue.
Strong positions have been taken on this issue based on environmental and commercial imperatives.
Business owners have complained that not enough alternatives are in place to replace Styrofoam, while others warn that the alternatives are dangerous to consumers.
But environmental groups have pushed back saying the deadline should have been imposed long ago as it is already late.
Samuda has also been on record saying that this deadline will not change.However he explains that the process for formal dialogue has been engaged and there will be an examination of the issue.
“There’s been a written request from the JMEA to the Minister in charge of Environment. There wasn’t a response, there was a meeting yesterday. The matter will be discussed by the Cabinet because it warrants such a discussion but my position stands ,” said Samuda who was a guest on Beyond the Headlines yesterday.
In the meantime, Samuda has also sought to address the concern raised that the non-availability of Styrofoam could lead to shortage of alternatives and drive up prices.
But he believes that any disruption would be temporary.