Plastics and Styrofoam – A Mitigation Plan

Go Lean Commentary

So where do all the used plastics – and Styrofoam – go?

In a landfill …

… and may not degrade for a thousand years!

But for the ones that end up in the water (oceans and seas), they too do not degrade. They linger, pollute and disrupt eco-systems.

No one can just “stick their head in the sand”; this issue must be addressed, the crisis must be assuaged, the threat must be mitigated. See this crisis as depicted in this VIDEO here:

VIDEO – How Much Plastic is in the Ocean? –

It’s Okay To Be Smart

Published on Mar 28, 2017 – What can you do to make the oceans plastic-free?

Ocean plastic pollution is a massive environmental problem. Millions of tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year, even plastic that goes in the trash can often ends up in the sea! This week we learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and look at the dangers ocean plastic poses to ocean animals. Plus, a few tips for you to reduce your own plastic use!

Sample Resources

Plastic Oceans Foundation:

United Nations “Clean Seas” program:

Ocean plastic pollution resources from Monterey Bay Aquarium:…

Welcome to the Caribbean! We are 30 member-states in an all-coastal region – with many archipelagos (i.e. the Bahamas alone features over 700 islands). We have a lot of waterways and seascapes to contend with … and manage! So this global problem of plastics and Styrofoam is a local problem too.

Think global; act local!

What are we doing in our Caribbean region to mitigate the problem of plastics and Styrofoam? One member-state, St. Lucia, has proposed something; see the full news story here:

Title: Saint Lucia to ban Styrofoam and plastics

August 13th, 2018 – Saint Lucia plans to phase-out Styrofoam food service containers and plastics, both plates and cups, beginning December 1, 2018, with a total ban on their importation before the end of next year.

The announcement came in a statement from Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Doctor Gale Rigobert.

Rigobert said the Government of Saint Lucia is cognizant of the negative impact on the environment and human health from food service containers made from Polystyrene and Expanded Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, along with Plastics.

However, she observed that the administration recognises that the healthier alternative to these products, such as biodegradable and compostable food service containers, are more costly.

” We are doing our very best to alleviate this issue,” the minister explained.

She disclosed that over the last few months, the Department of Sustainable Development, in partnership with other key agencies such as the Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority, the Department of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce and the Customs and Excise Department, has been working towards the development of a strategy to eliminate single use plastics, polystyrene and expanded polystyrene from the Saint Lucia market.

“To date, we have completed fiscal analyses, conducted a survey of the key suppliers of these products and we have also identified suppliers of the biodegradable and compostable food service containers, all this to ensure that Saint Lucia creates the enabling environment to facilitate this process,” Rigobert stated.

She explained that in light of this, the Department of Sustainable Development will be taking a phased approach to facilitate a smooth transition for all stakeholders.

“The phase-out, along with a ban on the importation of Styrofoam food service containers, and plastics, both plates and cups, will commence December 1, 2018 with a total ban culminating by November 30, 2019:”

Rigovert revealed that in order to ensure adequate sensitisation, the Department of Sustainable Development will continue its campaign to educate the general public on the options they have available to them during this phase.

“With respect to plastic bottles, discussions are ongoing with major stakeholders to finalize legislation that would curb and control their use,” the minister noted.

“I encourage you to join the fight to reduce your dependency on single use plastics and Styrofoam by utilizing re-useable bottles, food containers, cutlery and shopping bags. Let us act responsibly in our everyday consumption and production,”Rigobert stated.
Source: St. Lucia Times – Daily Newspaper – Posted 08-13-2018; retrieved 08-21-2018:

This problem is bigger than just the Caribbean member-state of St Lucia. They did not start this fight; nor can they finish it. This is BIG Deal that is too big for any one member-state or the full Caribbean region alone. This will require a global effort, including some Caribbean mitigation!

But here in the Caribbean, we cannot expect others to do all the heavy-lifting and clean-up; we must do our share; clean-up our own environment. This has been a frequent theme by the movement behind the book Go Lean … Commentaryavailable for download now. In the book, and in previous Go Lean blog-commentaries, it was asserted that we – the Caribbean region – must do our share to “Go Green” so as to assuage our own contributions to global pollution and greenhouse gases; yes, we must keep our own neighborhoods clean and optimize our own industrial footprint, so that we may be less hypocritical – have moral authority – in calling for reform from the big polluting nations. This sample – as follows – depicts some previous blog-commentaries that relates this theme: Counter-culture: Manifesting Change – Environmentalism Canada: “Follow Me” for Model on Environmental Action Lessons from Colorado: Water Management Arts & Sciences Book Review: ‘Sea Power’ – The Need for Good Oversight Fix ‘Climate Change’ and other Environmental Issues? Yes, We Can Book Review: ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate’ Climate Change May Affect Food Supply Within a Decade Blue is the New Green Go ‘Green’ … Caribbean

From the foregoing news articles and these previous blog-commentaries, we see the compelling need for a concerted anti-pollution-Go Green effort in our region. We must “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle”. Who will stand-up and lead this charge?

“Here I am, send me” – The Bible; Isaiah 6:8

This is the charter of the Go Lean book. It serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The roadmap depicts how this federal government is designed to stand-up and lead the charge to assuage and mitigate the threats on Caribbean life. The book identifies a list of crises as Agents of Change that are crippling our way of life. We can add pollution to that list. As a Single Market, we need a regional sentinel to be on guard and to tackle these “plastics pollution” problems.

Why regional?

Because the national effort has been unsuccessful; in many cases, even unknown, unavailable and unfunded.

No, individual member-states will not be able to succeed in this effort; we need a regional effort; it is too big to tackle alone; so we must acknowledge our regional dependency or interdependence to have any chance of success. This vision is embedded in the opening Declaration of Interdependence, pronouncing as follows, (Pages 11, 12):

vi. Whereas the finite nature of the landmass of our lands limits the populations and markets of commerce, by extending the bonds of brotherhood to our geographic neighbors allows for extended opportunities and better execution of the kinetics of our economies through trade. This regional focus must foster and promote diverse economic stimuli.

viii. Whereas the population size is too small to foster good negotiations for products and commodities from international vendors, the Federation must allow the unification of the region as one purchasing agent, thereby garnering better terms and discounts.

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. …

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

The Go Lean book and previous blog-commentaries posit that the “whole is worth more than the sum of its parts”, that from this roadmap disparate Caribbean nations can speak with “one voice” … collectively as a Single Market and be heard. The international community – the big polluters – would therefore have more respect and accountability to our regional Caribbean entity, rather than the many (30) Small Island Development States. But while contributing to the problem ourselves, though on a smaller scale, we cannot just say to these big polluters:

“You break it, you fix it”.

No, we must unite and take our stand in this fight … to mitigate plastics and Styrofoam … and advocate for change!

As related in the Go Lean roadmap, the CU Trade Federation is designed to elevate Caribbean society, but not just against pollution, rather these other engines in the regional construct as well. The roadmap therefore has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimize the economic engines of the Caribbean to elevate the regional economy to grow to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establish a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines over the seas & land.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

So the CU will serve as the regional administrator to optimize the economy, homeland security and governing engines for the Caribbean. These efforts are already important in the fight for Climate Change abatement; so the same can apply for the mitigation of polluting plastics and Styrofoam.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society. This is the heavy-lifting that we must do to sustain our planet, region, island and communities.

We can all do more!

Some hotel resorts in the Caribbean have already embraced the strategy of being early-adopters of plastics-Styrofoam bans. See a related article here from St Lucia:

Bay Gardens Resorts discontinues use of Expanded Polystyrene EPS (Styrofoam) products

Change has come to the Caribbean region. This heavy-lifting is the quest of the CU/Go Lean roadmap; to make the Caribbean region more self-reliant collectively; to act more proactively and reactively for our own emergencies and natural disaster events; and to be more efficient in our governance.

If “plastics pollution” is not arrested, then even more devastating changes will come. So there is the need for our region to establish a regional Sentinel, a permanent union to provide efficient stewardship for our economic, security and governing engines.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in to the efforts and empowerments to mitigate and abate “plastics pollution”. It is also time to lean-in to this roadmap described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. Plastic pollution is a Big Deal. We have other Big Deals too, so as to reform and transform our society. We must make our waterways and homelands better places to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

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