…as Guyana observes Earth DayAs Guyana joined the rest of the world on Sunday to observe Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an initiative with several supermarkets in Georgetown to minimise the use of plastic bags which was well-received by Guyanese shoppers.EPA Senior Environmental Officer Candacie Thompson said that hundreds of reusable bags were distributed to customers at the six participating supermarkets, who were in favour of same. Some, she related, even called for the initiative to be implemented as law.“Every customer received at least one reusable bag; some received several based on the quantity of items they purchased. Based on observation, customers were very receptive to the bags; no one showed apprehension about not being given single-use plastic bags,” she said.Thompson reminded that the initiative of reducing the use of plastic bags aligned with this year’s theme for Earth Day, which is “End Plastic Pollution”.The participating supermarkets are Bounty, Mattai’s, Survival, Budget, Distribution Services Limited (DSL), and Massy, along with their branches.These supermarkets will use boxes, reusable bags and biodegradable bags to pack their customers’ goods. They are also urging persons to walk with their bags, so as to curb the use of plastic in Guyana.The environmentalist told Guyana Times last week, ““We are looking at it as a launching pad and to raise awareness on the consequences of plastic pollution… many people are so accustomed to using these ‘single use’ plastic bags and basically like the name suggests, you can’t get much use out of it. When you take stuff away from the supermarkets in it, it cannot be reused except for garbage and it ends up in these landfills and accumulates because they are not biodegradable.”Thompson noted that the engagement with the supermarkets was just one of the activities being done for Earth Day. According to her, it is being done with the intent of analysing the public’s response to the initiative, even as the EPA seeks to change persons’ attitude to the use of plastic.She said too that the EPA may consider taking the idea to a governmental level, based on the public’s response to the initiative and after the necessary sensitisation would have been conducted to alert the public on the dangers of plastic bag use.The implementation of this new initiative comes at a time when Guyana happens to be one of the countries in the Caribbean that are significantly affected by plastic pollutants.Over the years, plastic items, specifically plastic bags have been the reason for clogged drains, trenches and canals that often times result in flooding.The Government of Guyana took the decision to ban Styrofoam back in 2016, after much contention.Earth Day is a global event which sees the participation of approximately one billion people in 192 countries.The EPA of Guyana will be endorsing this message as it strives to end this type of pollution – one of the major types in Guyana.World Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 in the United States. It later became recognised and accepted worldwide by the year 1990.According to the organisers of World Earth Day, at least two million people die globally, owing to indoor and outdoor pollution. It also estimates that by the year 2030, food prices will go up by 50 per cent owing to climate change.The rising temperatures, global warming and other ecological imbalances are a result of half of the world’s rainforests being gone. The deaths of 70,000 persons in Europe were caused by rising temperatures in 2003. These imbalances are also leading to frequent flooding and other disasters across the globe, which include forest fires, again impacting the trees.