Dominica will ban plastic straws and styrofoam by January 2019

Dominica has announced an aggressive ban on many single-use plastic and Styrofoam products in an effort to preserve its natural landscapes.

Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of the Caribbean nation, addressed Dominica’s ongoing restoration efforts after Hurricane Maria devastated the region last year, saying the ban would provide aid to those efforts. 

“Dominica prides itself as the ‘Nature Isle.’ We must in every way deserve and reflect that designation,” he said during a budget address in June. “The issue of solid waste management affects that perception and we continue to grapple with it.”

“We must rebuild and reset our society and economy and protect our environment in order to achieve a new, more resilient Dominica,” Mr Skerrit continued. 

Dominica joined a long list of nations and major corporations phasing out the use of plastic straws, from New Zealand and Australia, to Starbucks and Disney. The ban becomes effective January 2019. 

However, unlike many other nations’ bans on plastic straws, Dominica has taken theirs a step further, also banning plastic forks, plates and knives, along with Styrofoam containers and cups. A full list of all the products included in the ban will be announced at a later date, the prime minister said.

Wave of floating plastic in Dominican Republic shows extent of ocean pollution

Cities like Seattle have practised a soft approach towards implementing their bans on plastic straws, telling the Seattle Times they’re “continuing outreach and assistance to businesses to help them come into compliance, rather than enforcement”.

Meanwhile, other places enacting bans on single-use plastic have drastic punishments in place for those who flout the law. 

Kenya enforces the world’s most severe ban on plastic bags, with those found in violation of the ban facing up to four years in jail or a fine up to $38,000. 

France was the first nation to announce a full ban on plastic food products in 2016, following on its ban on plastic bags a year earlier.

Major cities in the US are still considering single-use plastic bans, including New York and San Francisco. 

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