10th January 2018
Paradise just got a little prettier and a little better for the already incredible environment in Vanuatu. To ensure things stay that way, from 31 January 2018 single-use non-biodegradable plastic will be completely banned in Vanuatu in an effort to reduce plastic waste. Other countries from around the world have taken similar measures which include a ban on plastic, plastic bags and polystyrene takeaway containers however the Vanuatu Government says that it wants to go even further and eventually become completely plastic-free.
Vanuatu’s oceans are one of its biggest drawcards and protecting them and keeping them beautiful is not only important for the sustainability of the local people, it will also secure tourism’s contributions to the economy. Vanuatu diving is known as some of the best on earth and preserving the health of the ocean and the marine life that calls it home is just as important to the ni-Vanuatu people. This was made clear when approximately 2,000 people last year signed a petition in support of the legislation that would ban single-use plastics in Vanuatu.
Toney Tevi, head of Maritime and Ocean Affairs within Vanuatu's Foreign Ministry, said the ban is part of a bigger picture ocean policy.
"We all agreed after national consultation that Vanuatu's ocean has to be clean for generations to come [and] to keep the ocean clean of plastic was one of the major concerns," Mr Tevi said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ralph Regenvanu said the Government’s focus is on getting rid of a number of other plastic products in the hopes of phasing out plastic completely.
"We're also looking to ban all plastic knives, forks, straws, those kinds of things," Mr Regenvanu said.
"We are working with the private sector to make as sure as possible we don't adversely affect companies who are manufacturing plastic products in Vanuatu.
"We are definitely trying to get to the stage where we are plastics-free."