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Guatamala announces ban on plastic cups, bags, straws by 2021

Guatemala has announced they will be banning certain single-use plastics including plastic bags and many utensils by 2021. The government plans to use the upcoming two years to encourage businesses to find alternative and compostable products to use. Those who do not head the ban will receive penalization.

Antigua, a city in Guatemala, has already instituted a similar plastic bag ban of its own. Antigua is one of 17 of the 340 municipalities that have already instituted single-use plastic bans. In many places in Guatemala citizens use banana tree leaves or paper for tasks such as wrapping foods instead of single-use plastics. President Jimmy Morales has come out in support of the plastic ban noting the environmental benefits. The country of Guatemala’s coastline boasts many of the world’s whales, turtles, sharks, and coral reefs.

According to AP News the Guatemalan government has predicted the ban, “…would eliminate more than half of the non-organic waste produced in the country.” It is estimated that Guatemala’s waste is about 60% organic matter and 40% non-organic matter.

Guatemala’s plastic ban is preceded by Panama’s announcement in July that they are banning plastic bags becoming the first Central American country to do so. Panama’s ban came in response to the United Nations declaration that ocean pollution is one of the world’s current biggest environmental struggles.

Earlier this month India announced a similar upcoming single-use plastic ban.

What innovations might be used to replace these single-use plastics in Guatemala? What Central American country may come next?

Meryl Connelly-Chew

I work as an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and facilitate a LGBTQ+ survivors support group. I have a B.L.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in Psychology, Sociology, and English. I grew up in rural Southeast Alaska, and live now in Bellingham, Washington with my dog Fathom. I write for Kindling because I believe in the innate value of each of us and I am inspired by the existence of goodness in our collective humanity.

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