We have been appointed by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) to work alongside the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP) in Belize to undertake a global review of current restrictions on single use plastic (SUP) items.

In April 2019 the Belizean government moved to ban single use plastics in order to protect the Belizean environment from the plastic pollution caused by the high use of SUPS in the country. The ban was met with considerable backlash and its implementation was postponed indefinitely subject to significant revision. Our research will support the CLiP team by providing them with the knowledge to enable the Belizean government to successfully implement restrictions on SUPs in the future.

The review will include exploration of the range of potential alternatives to SUP items, looking at both the success of various alternatives with respect to waste and litter prevention goals, and their pros and cons relative to one another. This will also consider the ability of the waste management system in Belize to process the alternative materials.

The final report will include our recommendations for the successful development and implementation of a legally binding restriction on single use plastics in Belize, as well as providing a valuable resource for other Commonwealth countries to draw from if they are also interested in restricting SUPs in the future. In order to facilitate this, the final report will also include key considerations to bear in mind depending on a country’s specific context.

This project follows on from our work across Europe and Asia on the impact of plastic on the natural environment and the policies that can be introduced to minimise their polluting affects.

Ayesha Bapasola, our project manager, said:

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of using our knowledge to support Cefas’ CLiP programme. We’re excited to expand and extend our expertise in Europe to the issues associated with single use plastics in Belize and other Commonwealth countries.”

Picture courtesy of Muntaka Chasant, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.