Guernsey's President of Environment & Infrastructure has announced he and his committee have decided to propose a ban on single use plastic bags.
Deputy Barry Brehaut tweeted the news, saying they would now lease with retailers to discuss the practicalities and timetable of the move.
Morning. The committee for the Environment and Infrastructure agreed at its last meeting to propose a ban on single use plastic bags. The committee will now liaise with retailers to discuss the practicalities and timetable of the move.— Barry Brehaut. (@deputybaz) 10 May 2019
If the policy is introduced, it would bring the island in line with many other islands around the world. This year, Aruba, an island off of the coast of South America, banned the bags in 2017, and its government has since reported a marked affect on litter. All five Hawaiian islands have a similar ban.
Aruba's government have now moved to looking at a ban on single use plastics as a whole - this includes bottles and straws.
In recent weeks, locals have been calling for Guernsey to follow suit. A petition gained over 800 signatures toward the end of April in just two days. It was set up by Plastic Free Guernsey, who are calling on retailers to stop providing the bags to customers as another potential course of action. Similarly to that, a Guernsey branch of the Extinction Rebellion has also been formed, looking to echo the protests in London which demand more immediate action on protecting the environment.
At the time, both said they hoped the States would get on board with the petition and legislate against the bags being distributed. Now, it seems that has become a reality.
Barry Brehaut said they would be liaising with retailers to get their opinions on how a ban would work operationally. Image from M&S Guernsey's Facebook page.
While Deputy Brehaut has not yet clarified, it is most likely the idea will be brought in a policy letter to the States, and be debated later down the line - but on the social media platform he emphasised that they still needed to decide the details of how any ban might be implemented. Looking at other islands as examples, it is possible there may be a transition phase, or that the ban will be set for some time down the road.
He also clarified that they would be careful in wording in any legislation to avoid creating complications around, say, bin bags: "We need to learn from those communities who have got it right," he said.
Pictured top: Single use plastic bags, which would, under new legislation, most likely be replaced with reusable carrier bags.
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