18th May 2018
Vanuatu has taken a lead in the international fight against plastics, passing a law that will see the phasing out of single use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene boxes.
“I am so happy that we have come this far together, as a people and a nation to begin the walk to reduce plastic waste in our land and keep the ocean for our generations to come,” said Toney Tevi, head of the Maritime and Ocean Affairs Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu.
Every year, 51 trillion microplastic pieces make there way into the sea as part of the 8 million tonnes of plastic that enters the ocean. It’s anticipated that unless more is done to address our oceans plastic emergency, by 2050 there will be more plastic in our seas than fish.
“The ban on these plastics is an opportunity for us to help protect our planet and our island paradise of Vanuatu. It is also an opportunity for us in Vanuatu to strengthen our sustainable cultural practices,” said Vanuatu’s First Lady Estella Moses Tallis.
This new law has the active support of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) who are collaborating to produce a national communications strategy that will effectively introduce the new law.
David Loubser, manager of the Pacific Ecosystem based Adaptation to Climate Change Project (PEBACC) based in Vanuatu remarked on the historical importance of this move.
“We are all looking towards Vanuatu as a leader in this space and are impressed by their commitment to protect our environment, ocean and people of Vanuatu and the Pacific,” he said.
“SPREP are pleased to be able to provide this assistance to Vanuatu, and we look forward to the positive benefits that will come from these bans, benefits that will be reached not only by Vanuatu, but by the Pacific region as a whole.”