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Vanuatu Soon to Outlaw Plastic Bags, Drinking Straws, Foam Containers
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.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.