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Heavy Fines for Breaching Plastic Ban Law in Barbados, But Opposition Says They’re Too High

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Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey announced fines as high as BDS$50,000 (US$25,000).

BRIDGETOWN,
Barbados, Wednesday March 27, 2019
– As government prepares to
implement a ban on petroleum-based plastics, importers, retailers and users
have been warned that they will face serious consequences, if they breach the
new law.

From April 1, the ban on importation of such petro-based
single-use products will be enforced, while the distribution, sale and use of
such products will be banned from July 1.

After those dates, government is proposing to enforce penalties
ranging as high as BDS$50,000 (US$25,000) or a year’s imprisonment, or both,
for importing, offering for sale, or using single-use plastics in Barbados.

This was announced by Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue
Economy, Kirk Humphrey, during the second reading of the Control of Disposable
Plastics Bill 2019, in the House of Assembly on Monday.

Single-use plastic containers refer to those made using plastic or
polystyrene, and included cups, food containers, and egg trays used in the
culinary retail industry.

Under the Bill, it is proposed that anyone who imports, offers for
sale, sells or uses single-use plastic or cutlery after the deadline had passed
would be guilty of an offence, and would be liable on summary conviction to the
BDS$50,000 (US$25,000) fine, a year’s imprisonment, or both. And, anyone
continuing the practice can be fined BDS$1,000 (US$500) for each day or part
thereof, during which the offence continues.

Minister Humphrey also noted that from July 1, no person shall
import, sell or use any single-use plastic containers or any single-use plastic
cutlery that is labelled or marketed as “environmentally sustainable” unless
that person has applied for, and obtained a BDS$25 (US$12.50) licence under the
proposed Act.

“This is to ensure that importers bring in the kind of products
that are in compliance with what Barbados is seeking to achieve,” he said,
noting that importers would also be subjected to the same fines if they are
caught breaching the proposed Act.

However, Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley says the fines outlined are too high for sellers.

“I have serious concerns about the hefty fines for infringements on the ban on plastics beyond the given date. I believe those fines are too high. You could have made two separate stipulations—one that applies to the importers and manufacturers and another for the sellers. Charging the manufacturers and importers $50,000 is fine, but I am not comfortable with it being so high for the sellers, especially the small vendors,” he told Parliament.

Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley says the fines are too high for sellers.

Meantime, Minister Humphrey told Parliament that some plastics
would be exempt from the ban.

They are: plastic bags designed for, packaged and retailed
specifically for the disposal of waste from households, public spaces, business
places, offices or industrial plants – garbage bags; plastic bags or
polystyrene containers for items for pharmaceutical dispensing or any other
medical use; plastic bags or plastic containers designed for the storage of
agricultural products; plastic bags used for the preservation of food items; trays
made of polystyrene used in the packaging of fresh meat; plastic straws
attached to tetra pack boxes; and plastic bags for the preservation of food
items.

Humphrey also noted that local plastic bag manufacturers will be
able to continue their trade, but for export purposes only. 

“We understand that local manufacturers do a significant share of business overseas. So, they can make them here but they cannot use them here,” he said.

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Hurricane Humberto Getting Stronger as it Nears Bermuda

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Wednesday September 18,
2019
– Hurricane force winds are expected
to reach Bermuda this evening, as a larger and stronger Humberto moves
closer to the island.

The impending hurricane, at Category 3
strength with maximum sustained winds now near 120 miles per hour, has forced
the closure of government offices and schools and cancellation of evening
flights at the airport.

In its 11 a.m. advisory, the National
Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Hurricane Humberto was located 195 miles west of
the island, and was moving towards the east northeast at 16 miles per hour.

It is expected to remain a major
hurricane through early tomorrow. And the core of Jerry is expected to pass
just to the northwest and north of the island tonight. The Bermuda Weather
Service has forecast that its closest point to the island will be 101 miles to
the northwest at 8 p.m.

“Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during
the next day or so, but Humberto should remain a powerful hurricane through
early Thursday while it passes close to Bermuda.  A steady weakening trend should begin later
on Thursday,” the NHC said.

Humberto is a large hurricane and continues to grow
in size. Hurricane-force winds now extend outward up to 105 miles from the centre
and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles based on reports
from a Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

The NHC said a prolonged period of dangerous winds
is expected on Bermuda from late this afternoon through tomorrow morning, with
hurricane-force winds expected overnight tonight.

It added that storm surge and dangerous breaking waves could cause coastal flooding tonight and tomorrow along the southern coast of Bermuda.

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Eastern Caribbean Embarks on Strategy Towards a Blue-Green Economy

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The Caribbean green-blue economy strategy and action plan will make the most of the sub- region’s strengths, harnessing these to create economies that are environmentally friendly and at the same time more socially equitable. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Eames Roebling/IPS)

In this Voices from the Global South podcast, IPS takes you to the Caribbean where correspondent Jewel Fraser learns how micro, small and medium enterprises hold the key for building economies that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

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Tropical Storm Jerry Forms East of the Leeward Islands

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FLORIDA, United States, Wednesday September
18, 2019
– Tropical
Storm Jerry formed this morning, becoming the 10th named storm of
the Atlantic hurricane season. And by the time it’s near the Leeward Islands in
the next day or two, it’s expected to have strengthened into a hurricane.

The National
Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami reported in its first advisory on Tropical
Storm Jerry at 5 a.m., that it was located about 960 miles east of the Leeward
Islands and moving towards the west northwest at 13 miles per hour.

Maximum
sustained winds were at 45 miles per hour, and additional strengthening is forecast
during the next couple of days. A west-northwestward motion at a slightly
faster forward speed is expected over the next few days. 

“On the
forecast track, the system will be near the northern Leeward Islands Thursday
night or Friday…. Jerry is expected to become a hurricane by the time it moves
near the northern Leeward Islands,” the NHC said.

It added
that although it is too soon to determine if there will be any direct impacts
on the islands, interests in the northern Leeward Islands should monitor the progress
of this system and have their hurricane plans in place.

Apart from Hurricane Humberto which is expected to pass just to the northwest and north of Bermuda tonight, there are two other areas of interest in the Atlantic.

A tropical
wave located several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands is producing
disorganized cloudiness and showers. Some development of that system is possible
over the weekend while the system approaches the Windward Islands or across the
southeastern Caribbean Sea early next week.

A tropical wave is also forecast to move off of the west coast of Africa tomorrow.  Development, if any, is expected to be slow to occur through early next week while the system moves generally westward at 10 to 15 miles per hour.

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