Eradicating Plastic Pollution across the South Pacific
by Ollie Perkins at 10:31 in Environmental, Packaging, Content
The South Pacific Ocean is home to a diverse host of island nations that share many things from rich cultural traditions to a deep connection with nature. One thing they also have in common is the growing issue of marine pollution washing up on their shores.
The capacity to manage domestic waste sustainably is a mutually growing problem in the region. It is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enter our oceans each year due to poor waste management and overconsumption of single-use items.
Despite the region's small contribution to global plastic waste, transboundary plastic pollution is plaguing marine ecosystems across these islands. This impacts remote communities that rely on fishing for both personal and commercial consumption.
The mismanagement of landfill waste is a significant issue for small islands due to limited space and soil to cover it. For example, this issue is prominent in Kiribati, where 13% of the nation's waste is plastic, equivalent to 9.7 tonnes a day. Without monitoring, the overflow of waste can end up in waterways and the sea.
For the 22 island nations and territories in the Pacific Community, the regional consensus on tackling waste and pollution is one of unity. The 13 million residents across the South Pacific are represented on an international level by regional organizations, such as SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme) and the Pacific Islands Forum. Funding from nations such as Australia, New Zealand, and the UK is channelled to Pacific nations via these organizations to promote sustainable development and environmental governance.
In November of this year, delegates from 14 Pacific nations travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, for the 3rd meeting of the International Negotiating Committee to progress talks on a global plastics treaty. The 'One Pacific Voice' echoed calls for an end to plastic pollution through a firm and comprehensive legal treaty. Many Pacific nations are leading by example by setting out legislation that tackles plastic consumption:
- In 2020, Tuvalu banned single-use plastic bags, bottles (under 1.5L), straws, utensils, polystyrene plates, cups, and cling-film wrap.
- Vanuatu has prohibited disposable plastic utensils, cups, containers, and egg cartons since 2019.
- Since 2020, the Fed. States of Micronesia has banned the import of single-use plastic and polystyrene food-service items such as cups, straws, utensils, and clamshell takeaway containers.
- Fiji introduced a ban on all polystyrene products in 2020.
More examples of single-use plastic regulations and legislative developments for over 140 countries around the world are available on Lorax EPI's newly released EnviLite™ software. For further information on our software, please contact us today.
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