Minster Roban Shares Plans On Green Initiatives

November 30, 2022

“I’m passionate about protecting our environment and committed to implementing plans and initiatives that encourage the growth and development of our economy and green initiatives,” said Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban at the recent Youth Climate Summit held at B.U.E.I.

A Government spokesperson said, “Now in its second year, the summit is a weeklong event held in November and open to students aged 13 to 22. It allows participants to hear from and speak with local and global experts, leaders, and activists in environmental conservation, sustainability, and climate justice.”

Minister Roban gave opening remarks and shared the Government’s plans to protect Bermuda’s environment with our youth, explaining, “As the future leaders of Bermuda, it is vital that you are knowledgeable and have a say in the path we choose. And so I wish to share with you our plans over the next twelve months.

“Reducing single-use plastics in Bermuda remains a priority, and the Government continues consulting with the general public, importers, retailers and grocers, the hospitality sector and groups that have been advocating for the elimination of single-use plastics.

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“During these consultations, the Government of Bermuda Citizens Forum online page received the third-highest public response regarding ideas generated and the fifth-highest number of participants.

“From the feedback received, a large majority, some three-quarters of the respondents, support the policy to regulate single-use plastics in Bermuda.

“And so, using a phased approach, the Government will introduce a Bill to reduce single-use plastics beginning in the coming months.

“While the aim is to improve the environment and human health, we are aware of the need to avoid any adverse economic effects by:

  • Ensuring the phase-out periods are realistic;
  • Clearly communicating the requirements;
  • Making allowances for some single-use plastic items that do not currently have alternatives; and,
  • Allowing exemptions for medical and other uses.

“We will maintain communication with those most affected, such as grocery stores, importers, restaurants, caterers, retail outlets, and those in the hospitality industry to obtain feedback, assist as needed, and continue public education campaigns to support the behavioural changes required from all of us.

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“In line with protecting our environment from single-use plastics, we will also work to ensure that the air we breathe is safe.

“Bermuda’s Clean Air Act was initially developed in 1993, using information available at that time on the known health effects on people, including respiratory and cardiovascular effects, such as asthma. In the thirty years since drafting these Regulations, our understanding of how air contaminants affect our health has grown significantly, and air quality standards in other jurisdictions have become more stringent. However, you will be surprised to learn that Bermuda’s Clean Air Act has never been updated.

“I am pleased to say this is being addressed, and in the coming months, Bermuda’s air quality standards will be in line with the U.K. and E.U., using the latest health and safety data on the exposure of air contaminants to humans.

“Now, having spoken on initiatives that protect and improve our land and air, I want to share how we are protecting our oceans.

“You may have heard of the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan and the ongoing consultation by the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme.

“The feedback is helping us fine-tune the economic and environmental decisions around Bermuda’s marine environment and refine the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan to ensure it achieves the social, economic, and ecological impacts that matter to the people of Bermuda.

“In support of this, we are creating the Marine Development Act, which will provide the framework for managing the Marine Spatial Plan and introducing the Blue Economy Fund.

“We will also be creating a Green Energy Fund, which will be the source for introducing Community Solar. Community Solar will help fund solar installations throughout our community, benefitting those families that cannot afford to invest in the installation of the projects. Amendments to the Electricity Act 2016 will allow the launch of this exciting new and innovative framework.

“I am confident that the successful implementation of these initiatives will create economic opportunities, improve living standards, and, most importantly, protect and preserve our environment for future generations. Because as the saying goes, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

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