For immediate release, Friday 18th May 2018

On Tuesday this week, officers of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industries, the Department of Tourism, and Vanuatu Tourism Office joined Government delegates, SPREP and other NGO’s, and business houses at an important workshop discussing practical details & policies of the ban of plastic use, and increase awareness of plastic pollution.

The workshop was officially opened by Minister Alfred Maoh and Guest of Honor was the gracious First Lady Mrs (Eld.) Estella Moses Tallis who spoke her heart on the issue as Vanuatu’s very own ‘Ban Plastic’ champion.

Vanuatu takes to stage as the first Pacific island nation in the world to officially announce that it would legally ban the use of plastic bags, straws, and polystyrene take boxes.

The passing of legislation in February will see the end of these products known to be a serious threat to the environment, especially in small island states in the Pacific, by 1 July, 2018.

After 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 keep the country "clean and safe.”, 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," was a statement made by Vanuatu's foreign affairs minister Ralph Regenvanu early this year through Australia's ABC News.

The CEO of the VTO, Mrs Adela Issachar Aru this week emphasized, “Vanuatu tourism has embarked on a sustainable tourism policy with the support of the Government of New Zealand and Vanuatu in 2017. It is indeed our contribution to this cause for promoting Vanuatu as a clean, safe, and happy destination so that we are promoting the principles of sustainable tourism by protecting our natural resources and preserving our cultural heritage to showcase our uniqueness and pristine environment to our visitors as well as our people.”

Ms Aru further adds, “Vanuatu Tourism says BAN the plastics now to tell our stories for tomorrow's generation so they also join in the duty to keep the environment clean, nurtured, and beautiful for many more years to come.”

As a way forward for Vanuatu, the First Lady’s opening remark highlights, “Let’s revive our traditional woven baskets and move away from plastics. This way we protect our environment and keep our country free from plastic-pollution. Also, our woven baskets look way better than plastic bags carrying with it our pride and identity, telling the world who we are and where we come from as a people who hold onto traditional values, practices and are responsible to care for their environment”.

Big Blue keeping Port Vila seafront clean and plastic free  

Tankiu tumas Mike, Maggie, Christina and the entire staff of Big Blue for your Dive Against Debris campaign.