In a bid to protect the precious “blue Pacific” the Samoan government will ban all single-use plastic bags and straws by January next year.
Styrofoam food containers and cups will also be banned once environmentally sustainable alternatives are sourced, the government said in a statement.
“A new era is in place for Samoa … as we enhance our blue Pacific and join the global fight to restore our ocean and address damage caused by plastic,” said Ulu Bismarck Crawley, chief executive at the ministry of natural resources and environment.
James Atherton of the Samoa Conservation Society told Radio NZ there was increasing research into sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic bags and food containers, including plates made from coconut leaves, which is found in abundance in the Pacific islands.
Other research has identified hemp, chicken feathers and cassava as potential alternatives.
A survey conducted by the ministry revealed a significant increase in waste from 26,000 tonnes a year in 2011 to 32,850 tonnes in 2017 – an increase of more than 20% in six years.
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