Vaz clarifies $75-m allocation for environmental project
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, has sought to clarify a statement he made last Friday in which he was quoted as saying the Government would be putting up $75 million over three years towards the establishment of a plastic bottle deposit scheme.
Vaz was quoted by the government’s news agency, JIS, after he gave an address at the Conservation Through Education Forum at the Urban Development Corporation's Orange Park at the Kingston waterfront, in celebration of World Oceans Day.
But, leading environmentalist and columnist Peter Espeut, when asked to comment on the intended $75 million spend, told Loop News on Monday that the announcement by Vaz had nothing to do with recycling or the environment. “It’s going to be a political project to employ people,” he asserted.
According to Espeut, there is no need for the Government to put up any money since a deposit scheme in the true sense of the word would see manufacturers of plastic bottles tacking on an extra 10 cents on the price for their product. The 10 cents is refundable and would be returned when the consumer returns the empty bottle.
“That is how you keep the bottles from polluting the environment,” Espeut said. He charged that what has been announced appears to be no more than a “political project masquerading as a recycling or environmental project.”
In clarifying, Vaz, who is the Minister with responsibility for the environment, said the $75 million mentioned is not for the plastic bottle deposit scheme, Recycling Partners of Jamaica, or the HOPE programme, as was stated in a JIS press release. Rather, he said it was earmarked for the 'Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica' campaign. He said the campaign would receive the money in three tranches of $25 million over three years.
The Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica campaign, which is spearheaded by the Jamaica Environment Trust, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and Wisynco, is a component of the Clean Coasts Project. It aims to increase public education about the impact of improper waste disposal on the environment and on the health of Jamaicans.