Quantcast

Vanuatu Soon to Outlaw Plastic Bags, Drinking Straws, Foam Containers

Popular
Port Vila, Vanuatu. David Cobbin / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

In less than two months, one of the toughest bans on single-use plastics in the Pacific will take effect.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai announced the initiative last year to ban plastic bags, drinking straws and polystyrene foam containers in order to protect the environment and oceans and to keep the country "clean and safe."


Starting this July 1, it would be an offense to manufacture, sell or give away such items on the nation, which consists of roughly 80 islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

The only exception is for plastics that are used to contain, wrap or carry meat or fish.

In January, companies and retailers were given six months to adjust to the new rule and to use up their existing supplies.

Vanuatu's Daily Post reported Monday that the government is hosting a workshop this week to offer details of the ban and to increase the public's awareness of plastic pollution. The workshop will host representatives from across Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is famed for its beautiful beaches, clear waters and spectacular reefs. However, plastic pollution has become a growing problem. In 2015, during National Environment Week, the Vanuatu Environment Science Society held a nationwide "Clean Up Your Environment Day" that collected 5,126 pieces of litter in four sites. The most common item found was plastic bags and plastic food wrappers.

The government has ambitions to become completely free of plastic.

"We're also looking to ban all plastic knives, forks, straws, those kinds of things," Vanuatu's foreign affairs minister Ralph Regenvanu told Australia's ABC News in January.

"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."

During Commonwealth Heads of State conference last month, Vanuatu and the United Kingdom established the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance to tackle plastic pollution.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Doctors report that only 1 in 4 children are getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Ronnie Kaufman / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Dan Gray

Pediatricians are being urged to start writing "exercise prescriptions" for the children they see in their office.

Read More
A First Nations protester walks in front of a train blockade in Tyendinaga, near Belleville, Ontario, Canada on Feb. 21, 2020. LARS HAGBERG / AFP via Getty Images

An indigenous rail blockade that snarled train travel in Canada for more than two weeks came to an end Monday when police moved in to clear protesters acting in solidarity with another indigenous community in British Columbia (B.C.), which is fighting to keep a natural gas pipeline off its land.

Read More
Sponsored
A rainbow snake, a rare reptile spotted in a Florida county for the first time in more than 50 years, seen here on July 5, 2013. Kevin Enge / FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Flickr

A Florida hiker recently stumbled across a slithering surprise — a rare snake that hadn't been spotted in the area for more than 50 years.

Read More
We need our government to do everything it can to stop PFAS contamination and exposure from wreaking havoc in communities across the country. LuAnn Hun / Unsplash

By Genna Reed

The EPA announced last week that it is issuing a preliminary regulatory determination for public comment to set an enforceable drinking water standard to two of the most common and well-studied PFAS, PFOA and PFOS.

This decision is based on three criteria:

  1. PFOA and PFOS have an adverse effect on public health
  2. PFOA and PFOS occur in drinking water often enough and at levels of public health concern;
  3. regulation of PFOA and PFOS is a meaningful opportunity for reducing the health risk to those served by public water systems.
Read More
Charging EVs in Stockholm: But where does a dead battery go? Ranjithsiji / Wikimedia Commons

By Kieran Cooke

Driving an electric-powered vehicle (EV) rather than one reliant on fossil fuels is a key way to tackle climate change and improve air quality — but it does leave the old batteries behind as a nasty residue.

Read More