ReliefWeb, 16th May 2018

15 May 2018, Port Vila, Vanuatu - It's a Pacific island nation that has beaten the global community across the finish line with Vanuatu officially being the first nation in the world to legally ban the use of plastic straws. The passing of legislation in February will see the end of single use plastic bags, polystyrene takeaway boxes and straws by 1 July, 2018.

As the planet mobilises towards addressing the challenge of a plastic ocean, the island of Vanuatu is mobilising to ensure a plastic bag, straw and polystyrene takeaway box free nation.

"The ban on these plastics is an opportunity for us to help protect our planet and our island paradise of Vanuatu. It is also an opportunity for us in Vanuatu to strengthen our sustainable cultural practices," said the First Lady Estella Moses Tallis, of Vanuatu.

"The Mamas of Vanuatu can bring to the frontline the use of traditional baskets which are part of our culture. The more we use them, the more we encourage our cultural art of weaving, in turn strengthening the cultural heritage of Vanuatu."

Each year at least 8 million tonnes of plastic makes its way into our ocean, with at least 51 trillion pieces of microplastics already in our ocean with warnings that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our ocean.

For the Pacific island region, our ocean is the largest in the world making up 98% ocean and 2% land. A global report released in 2015 shows that the Pacific contribution to the world marine plastic debris is less than 1% for which 10% of which comes from Vanuatu.

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