Jamaica, like many of its neighbors in the Caribbean, has a solid-waste management problem and non-biodegradable materials like plastic are a large part of it. Last week, 120 people on 113 boats participated in an unusual kind of fishing tournament, taking 11,336 pounds of garbage out of Kingston Harbor. Half of the garbage was household items like furniture and old refrigerators. The other half was plastic waste, said organizer Brandon McKoy.
In 2015, the average Jamaican used almost 500 “scandal bags” annually compared to individuals in more developed places like the European Union, where the average was 200 plastic shopping bags per person annually, the United Nations said. Between 2010 and 2015, Jamaica’s annual plastic bag consumption rose from about 865 million to 1.2 billion, said the Jamaica Environment Trust, which has long advocated for better management of the country’s waste.