It finally looks like the battle against single-use plastics is gaining pace! It seems like news about businesses ditching plastic is coming at ever shorter intervals and more countries than ever are introducing vitally important legislation aimed towards generating less dangerous plastic waste and curbing the plastic pollution of our planet. Now, a number of Pacific Islands are stepping up their game when it comes to fighting off the overflow of plastic!
Vanuatu and the Northern Marianas have just passed a plastic ban that will greatly limit the amount of plastic pollution on the islands. On July 28, Northern Marianas passed a bill introducing a fine for shops that will keep offering plastic bags. The legislation passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and is now heading to the Senate. It proposes the penalties of between 100 and 1,000 dollars each day on stores that keep using plastic bags. The number is not a small one – and, hopefully, no store owners will be willing to risk paying it.
According to Vanuatu Daily Post, Vanuatu’s prime minister Charlot Salwai stated that introduced would be a ban on the importation and use of plastic bottles and bags which cannot be reused. In his announcement during Independence Day, Salwai said that plastic bottles and bags are a risk to human life and environment, as well as that the ban was in line with the country’s National Ocean Policy. Keeping Vanuatu clean and safe is a priority for the government, he said.
Another Pacific island, Fiji is launching its own levy on plastic bags, starting August 1, 2017. Customers will have to pay 10 Fiji cents (equivalent to five cents) for a bag at the checkout at all retail outlets. “This tax will curtail and force retailers and consumers alike to use only what they need that will be of benefit to the environment,” said Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and added that consumers will be doing service to the environment while using their own bags.
Plastic bans have already been implemented in American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, and the Micronesian state of Yap. Now, a plastic ban is also under consideration in Solomon Islands’ Western Province due to the major plastic pollution in the area.
Each new plastic ban is a great step towards minimizing the amount of plastic that ends up polluting the planet at large – on the streets, in the landfills, in the oceans.
Every year, we globally produce 300 million tons of plastic. Around 8.8 million tons end up in the oceans – and, unavoidably, in the stomachs of marine mammals, fish, seabirds, and other animals. Once thrown away, non-biodegradable plastics are left to litter and poison the environment virtually forever. And it is our responsibility to stop it from happening.
To learn how to use less plastic in your life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
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