BHTA head says high plastic consumption is no joke

A top official in the hospitality sector said she was embarrassed over the high level of plastic and styrofoam used in Barbados, in particular the amount that’s imported to satisfy tourism needs.

Chairperson of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) Roseanne Myers has therefore called on local tourism players to take the lead in reducing the current intake, saying, “We believe that if we implement within our businesses then we can then say to other private sector agencies, ‘follow our lead’.

“Let us not wait on anyone to enact legislation for the things that we know we need to do,” she added, while strongly urging her members to sign on to the BHTA’s environment charter.

Painting a worrying picture of the impact of plastics on the economy as a whole, Chairman of the BHTA’s Environmental Committee André Miller warned that plastic bags stood to wipe out the snorkelling industry here.

The diving instructor said too often turtles and fish were caught in plastic bags and died.

He also pointed out that plastic bags and styrofoam containers, when not correctly disposed of, were often responsible for gathering water that could lead to a range of illnesses, including the dreaded Zika and Chikungunya viruses.

Officially launching the charter, which required between 50 and 100 signatures, Miller said it was time hoteliers took the lead in encouraging Barbadians to “do better”.

“From 1996 we have been doing beach and underwater cleanups. Back then we did one year maybe 100 pounds [of garbage]. Now we do several [cleanups] a year and get thousands of pounds of garbage, mostly plastics, styrofoam, straws – non-biodegradable materials,” he said.

“We have removed tonnes of plastics from our marine environment. Most of you will not see it, but I am telling you it is one of the most painful things to go diving, and there is no dive site, there is no beach in Barbados that I can go to and put on a mask and dive and not come out with a bunch of these in every part of my island, even in St John,” Miller said.

“We have to do better guys,” he pleaded.

“If we don’t have fish we don’t have corals, if we don’t have coral reefs we don’t have beaches. If we have no beaches none of us in here has a job. We have to start leading the way and not just say the Government is going to do something about this,” he stressed.

It is estimated that the country imports in excess of 100 million plastic bags annually.

Miller said he was aware that about ten 40-foot containers came to the island each month with styrofoam and plastic.

“I want you not only just say, ‘I sign the charter, my job is done’. This is just the start,” he told tourism stakeholders.

Last month, ice-cream manufacturer BICO Ltd and the Future Centre Trust announced plans to introduce a 20 cents charge on plastic bags by May next year. This is to be implemented at participating supermarkets and retail stores as a means of deterring the heavy use of plastic.


11 Responses to Embarrassing!

  1. John Everatt December 9, 2016 at 2:59 am

    I agree entirely with Roseanne Myers. If the Government will not do it then it is up to private industry to stop using styrofoam and plastic bags. A caring government would at least try to stem the use of these polluting item from reaching our shores. So private industry must step in and help. The first step has already been made in that a great number of supermarkets will begin to charge 20 cents per bag next year. Next we need to stop the use of styrofoam.

  2. Tony Webster December 9, 2016 at 7:08 am

    Which is more critical to ensure a sustainable future for this country, and for our children: a Bajan lady like Ms. Mayers, who puts country first, and speaks the un-varnished truth, or a basket-full of Honourable, Relevant, Pompous Personages, , who sit pompously on their posteriors, and talk into microphones and T.V. cameras, and are duly recorded in Hansard…for posterity?

    Styro-foam for use in consumer containers should be banned, except there is no acceptable substitute, in say, those rare and extreme cases like medical equipment, or critical insulating materials. No matter whose toes get mash. Use recycled paper/ cardboard, or wash and reuse plates!

    This whole environmental discourse is at clear and present danger of degenerating into farce. Ms. Myers…all power and blessings to you!!

  3. Phil December 9, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Until VERY fines and penalties are TRULY imposed, Passengers are going to toss their fast foods containers through the windowas of the PSVs. The drivers of these should be fined for contributing to this act because a highly visible sign should be in placed warning of the consequence resulting from not only tossing but also consuming.

  4. Karin Blundell December 9, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Consumers should bring their own containers along with recyclable bags.

  5. Robert Mac Donald December 9, 2016 at 8:28 am

    The government should be in the forefront in encouraging the use of re usable bags ,by legislation if necessary.
    I am a visitor to Barbados from Canada and I bring re usable bags to shop with.
    These plastic bags are non environment friendly in that they destroy dive sights and litter the island, why hasn’t the government done anything to curtail their use?
    The common good overrides the few who may profit from the importation of these bags, not to mention the future of Barbados as a prime tourist destination.

  6. Sheron Inniss December 9, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Ms Myers you go girl. A long time ago I suggested that people buying food could take their own containers. It does not take a rocket scientist to know a $12 food is determined by what is put into the bowl. I came to the conclusion some time ago that anyone who would say that my container from home for a bottle of coconut water was not sterile enough was thinking dollars for their friends but not the health of the environment. A sick environment only creates more problems.

  7. Bajan by birth December 9, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Some persons of means need to give Barbados at least 15 garbage trucks. Recycling has to be efficient from the start, Promptly done ‘Weekly.’ There are so many cars people taking groceries home can place them in ‘paper’ bags that are more easily degradable and much less toxic while of course using ‘Cloth’ and other hardy long lasting bags for purchases, these are more stable than plastic. Common manners should be instilled so as not to ‘litter’ since it also creates an eye sore for all therefore having ‘garbage containers’ readily available at some car stopping areas and certainly by beach areas is very necessary. I was appalled to see the ‘Mound’ of ‘garbage’ by Accra Beach this week! If there are no trucks …… GO GET A GOOD OLD TIME ‘LORRY’ and shovel it up ‘DAILY FROM HEAVILY USED BEACH AREAS’ NO EXCUSES!!!! Once done daily the load will be ‘light!’ Action now is the next step.

  8. Dee Morgan December 9, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I agree with anyone that says ban the plastic forthwith! Persons will shout be sustainable and environmentally alternatives can be found. Styrofoam importation can be stopped and any already be used up as alternatives are implemented. Sometimes it takes hard decisions to get stuff done!

  9. guy smiley December 9, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I’m sorry but what plastic containers is imported to satisfy tourism needs?

    Just asking

  10. guy smiley December 9, 2016 at 8:21 pm


  11. Walmark John F December 11, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    When we walk the beach every day, sometimes 3 times a day while on vacation and staying on Worthing Beach , I pick up at least one piece of refuse and then try and find a bin to put in it. When you find a bin, it’s overflowing with very old refuse. Cigarettes butts and beer bottle caps are everywhere and that tourists …. just leave your foot fronts on the beaches . We as visitors are also responsible to look after the environment. As far as the raw sewage being released into sea,,,,, we were there ,,,, we saw and smelt it for 5 of our 14 days on Worthing…. Sealy says there is an operational plan to fix the plant. Please share that with all of us and give us a timeline as to when it will be fixed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *