Oceana Belize congratulates the Government and people of Belize on the decision announced today to commence
the phase out of single use plastic shopping bags, Styrofoam and plastic food utensils by April 22nd 2019. This
decision is welcomed by the thousands of Belizeans who have participated in numerous clean up initiatives
country wide for many years and have seen the devastating impacts of single use plastic and Styrofoam on our
world renowned natural resources.
As noted in today’s joint press release by the Ministries of Economic Development, Tourism and Environment,
single use plastic bags, sytrofoam containers and plastic utensils represent 19% of the solid waste volume in the
municipal waste stream.
As a staunch advocate for this move, Oceana has been proud to support the Belizean businesses who have already
launched innovative and affordable alternatives to these items such as glass and bamboo straws as well as clam
shells and other food containers made from biodegradable and compostable material. We also highlight that
many businesses have included these types of alternatives in their inventory to meet consumer demands.
Moreover, Oceana has been proud to work with the communities of San Pedro and Placencia who, in the best
interest of their tourism product, are already leading the way on making this transition.
“This policy change will once again place Belize among the world leaders in the safeguarding of our natural
resources from the harmful effects of single use plastics and Styrofoam,” says Oceana’s Vice President in Belize,
Janelle Chanona. “We are confident that by localizing the experiences of Caribbean countries like Antigua and
Barbuda and our friends in Taiwan, this shift can be both successful and beneficial on multiple fronts.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since
2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 600,000 supporters have already
joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in Asia, North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.