Commissioner Laveist wants voluntary banning of plastic shopping bags

Commissioner responsible for Social & Youth Affairs Louie Laveist, will be traveling to Curacao on Tuesday on a fact-finding mission related to plastic bags and reusable shopping bags.

Plastic bags are a great danger to the environment. They swirl around in the ocean; cling to the trees and shrubs and block drains. Each year across the world some 500 billion plastic bags are used, and only a small amount is recycled.

A plastic shopping bag could last up to 1000 years in a landfill. In the environment, they break down into tiny, toxic particles that become part of the soil and water. For every bag there is a cost.

Plastic bags according to Environment California, and other plastic refuse that end up in the ocean, kill up to a million sea creatures a year, such as birds, whales, seals, sea turtles, and others.

Laveist will be meeting with Stanley Gois of Goisco Wholesale Club and a chain of supermarkets throughout Curacao that discontinued the use of plastic shopping bags and replaced them with reusable bags made from glass that are produced by Seilikor. 

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The Commissioner will also visit Seilikor and various supermarkets on Curacao to get a first-hand look of the implementation of reusable shopping bags and how the owners feel about this new trend.

"Eliminating the use of disposable plastic bags is a necessity if we want to improve the quality of the environment. A growing list of communities and countries are beginning to rethink their dependence on plastic bags.

"The time has come for us to do the same here. I would like to see our supermarkets and groceries taking the lead in banning plastic bags. They have a social responsibility towards the communities they serve and towards consumers. I call on them to take the lead and let us join the 100s of other communities who are following the global trend of reusable shopping bags," Commissioner of Social & Youth Affairs Louie Laveist told the Government Information Service (GIS).

Earlier this year Commissioner Laveist spoke with a number of supermarkets about the idea, however to date, nothing has happened.

Since then Laveist has asked the Legal Affairs Department to look into the possibility of legislation to ban plastic bags. Some countries have taken this route and even imposed a tax on bags.

The Sundial School has a campaign about plastic bags and the commissioner commends them on this initiative. Commissioner Laveist upon his return is planning to meet with environmental groups, the Sundial School as well as restarting a dialogue with supermarkets and grocers concerning the voluntary ban of plastic bags.