Trash washed up on Long Caye in 2013
We just received the word that Belize will be phasing out single use plastic bags, styrofoam food containers, and plastic food utensils by April of 2019!
This is fantastic news for us. When you have an island, you get to see first-hand the result of an over-abundance of plastic, specifically plastic from the Belize City dump, which is a mountain of stuff that blows out into the sea and eventually might wash up on our shore. Half of the island is ours, and half is abandoned. We clean both halves, but cannot keep the other end as clean as we wish it was. Even though it’s a tiny island (13 acres), that’s pretty big when you are trying to pick up everything that washes ashore.
Have you ever tried to pick up styrofoam that has been in the sea and the sun for months? You pick a piece up, it breaks in half. You pick one of those up, it breaks in half…. repeating this process endlessly. You can never get it all picked up, it just gets smaller and smaller. And then a bird or tropical fish swallows it.
This new Belize law was recently announced. A committee has already been formed to deal with the implementation of the ban and an education awareness campaign has also been put into motion for the public. Some businesses have already started phasing out the use of these materials, in anticipation of the ban.
Belize attributes this decision to their continued growth in tourism. Over the past 3 years Belize has seen double-digit increases in tourist arrivals, although much of that growth is due to the cruise ship industry. Belize is now up to 1,000,000 cruise ship visitors per year. Belize has advanced to the top-performing destination in the Caribbean region.
We are so psyched! Belizeans love their take-out food, many Belize citizens eat nothing but take-out, since the restaurants are all so good. They ALL use styrofoam. But not any more!!!!