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Haiti Bans Plastic Bags and Foam Containers to Reduce Trash

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As of October 1st plastic bags and foam containers will no longer be allowed to be imported, manufactured or marketed to consumers in Haiti. That’s right. It’s a nationwide ban on these planet trashing disposable items.

The Miami Herald reports that the government is cracking down due to a massive garbage problem in the country. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said that right now manmade debris clogs “95 percent of our sewage system, creating mass floods in poor neighborhoods… that is costing the state more than $50 million a year if we had the means to clean up.”

In an effort to stop adding to the already huge problem, the ban will take effect and hopefully, make a difference for this island nation. However, some worry that the government hasn’t given enough thought to providing viable options to those who depend on plastic bags.

Sasha Kramer, cofounder of SOIL, a nonprofit working in Haiti to turn human waste into compost, said, “Banning widely used items can only be successful when viable alternatives are available. Unless this ban goes hand-in-hand with a new product that can replace plastic bags and Styrofoam, it will not be successful, and is likely to heavily impact the poor who rely on these products to sell their goods on the informal market.”

Also, the ban does nothing to clean up the debris that is already a big problem for the people as well as the wildlife. On island nations, one also has to worry about the amount of trash that is entering the ocean causing harm to marine life such as turtles and birds.

We certainly applaud the ban and hope that Haiti is able to stop the trash from accumulating and clean up the already existing trash. We also hope that the world is watching and taking note that widespread change to reduce trash is possible, and perhaps one of the best ways to clean up this planet.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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