The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, on January 2nd has announced the decision taken by the Council of Ministers in December 2017 to ban the importation and local manufacturing of non-biodegradable plastics.
“The Government’s decision to ban certain non-biodegradable plastics was based on the outcome of field study reports done by environmental marine coastal groups working jointly with the Department of Environment on areas around Efate which discovered that a considerable amount of different forms of plastic waste have already entered our oceans. Plastic waste in the ocean is referred to as marine litter,” the announcement says.
“In 2018, the Government will be taking a number of important steps to manage the issue of marine litter and sincerely hopes that business houses, local authorities and the general public will assist the Government in keeping our oceans healthy and clean, ”the Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu has stated.
The Government through the Council of Ministers has agreed to ban the importation of single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene takeaway boxes in Vanuatu starting on 31st January 2018.
Local manufacturers of plastic bags can only use biodegradable plastics beginning on the 31st January 2018.
A grace period of six months has been given for companies to use up their current stock of single-use plastics and polystyrene takeaway boxes, expiring on the 30th June 2018.
In the coming months, the Government through the Oceans Policy Management Sub-Committee under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade will be announcing and implementing additional steps aimed at further reducing marine litter.