Vanuatu first in the world to ban plastic straws

VANUATU is officially the first nation in the world to legally ban the use of plastic straws, which will come into effect on July 1, claims a leading Pacific environmental group.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) is now working closely with stakeholders in Vanuatu to develop a national communication strategy for the implementation of the new waste management act which includes the ban on all plastic straws.

SPREP will also assist in strengthening the national policies and regulations to implementing the legislation.

A global report released in 2015 shows that the Pacific contribution to the world marine plastic debris is less than 1 per cent and 10 per cent of that comes from Vanuatu.

“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,” said David Loubser, the Manager of the Pacific Ecosystem based Adaptation to Climate Change Project (PEBACC) in Vanuatu.

“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 not only by Vanuatu but by the Pacific region as a whole.”

According to SPREP each year at least eight million tonnes of plastic makes its way into our ocean, with at least 51 trillion pieces of micro plastics already in our ocean and warnings that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish.

SPREP is one of the stakeholders taking part in a major plastics workshop being held in Port Vila this week to discuss the government’s plastics bans that come into force in July.