#Nairobi, November 28, 2018 – Kenya – At the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira told the international audience of The Bahamas Government’s initiatives in Marine Protected Areas and reducing marine pollution.
“In 2014, The Bahamas established the Bahamas Protected Areas Fund Legislation, 2014, and committed $2 million BSD to The Bahamas Protected Areas Fund,” Minister Ferreira said at the conference that was held November 26-28, 2018. “We announced the significant expansion of our marine-protected areas system to at least 10% protection, increasing the marine protected area inventory by 11 million acres.”
He noted that, in 2015, the Bahamas Government successfully achieved that goal. Since then, he added, the government committed to advancing the declaration and legal establishment of the remaining 10% of marine protected areas.
“This would represent 43 newly-proposed marine protected areas, covering more than 8.1 million acres of clear, blue ocean,” Minister Ferreira said. “This new commitment will assist The Bahamas to meet its target as a member of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative to set aside 20% of marine protected areas by the year 2020 and the goal as envisioned by SDG 14.”
Minister Ferreira pointed out that, in an effort to address solid waste which can affect the ocean, in April of that year, The Bahamas committed to banning selected single-use plastics and styrofoam by 2020.
“Among the selected single use plastics for eradication are plastic bags, straws, food utensils, styrofoam food containers and cups,” he said. “In addition to the ban, and in furthering our efforts to curb marine pollution, legislation will be introduced, making the release of plastic balloons into the air illegal.”
Draft legislation for the ban will be circulated to the public by early 2019, Minister Ferreira stated. He noted that the enactment and coming into force of that legislation is expected on January 1, 2020.
Minister Ferreira said that as all persons are stewards of the earth, and realizing the health of the environment and oceans is inextricably linked to the health of the planet, The Bahamas Government has embarked on an inclusion public education and outreach campaign, targeting all sectors of the society.
“We are engaging youth and women, civil society and the private sector,” Minister Ferreira said. “In fact, our private sector partners have taken the lead, by replacing many of their single-use plastic and styrofoam products with more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
“Additionally, The Bahamas will become a signatory to the Clean Seas Campaign launched by United Nations Environment Program by the end of this year.”
By Eric Rose
Photo Caption: Bahamas Minister of the Environment and Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, delivering remarks in Nairobi, Kenya.