‘Plastic Ocean Arch’, used in a piece of art displayed in the capital Victoria to raise awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution to marine life. (Seychelles News Agency)
Seychelles’ environment ministry continues to explore new ways to address the issue of plastic waste through new restrictions to be imposed on the use, possession, and commercial distribution of plastics and plastic products still in circulation, a high government official said on Monday.
Environment minister Flavien Joubert made the announcement in his message to commemorate World Environment Day, which is marked on June 5, annually.
In his message for World Environment Day, Joubert said that today is a good day to “remind ourselves that at this very moment, plastics and their hazardous additives continue to warm the climate, damage human health, and destroy ecosystems.”
“Plastics are not only found in landfills, but, they are also present in the oceans and in our bodies,” said Joubert.
Under the campaign ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, the theme for this year’s Environment Day focuses on solutions to plastic pollution.
“Whilst not a producer, Seychelles is an importer of plastics and plastic products. The protection of our natural environment including the marine environment is, therefore, crucial and remains one of our top priorities as we depend on it to sustain our economy through the fisheries and tourism industries,” said Joubert.
In 2017, Seychelles’ government placed a ban on the importation and sales of plastic bags, and plastic utensils including cups, forks, Styrofoam takeaway boxes, and plates. This was followed by a ban on single-use plastic straws in June 2019 and on balloons in 2021.
“I call upon every one of you, to reduce our plastic usage, recycle and dispose of plastic waste responsibly. Let us come together as a community, as a nation to tackle this issue,” said Joubert.
Aside from addressing the plastic issue, the Seychelles government is making strides to move towards a paperless economy, with one of the biggest achievements being at the airport.
In August 2021, Seychelles announced the roll-out of paperless entry for international arrivals in Seychelles. As of November 2022, citizens of Seychelles and permit holders starting their travel from Seychelles were required to submit embarkation information digitally as they prepare to exit the country.
In a bid to encourage recycling and minimise the amount of waste in Seychelles’ landfills, the country encourages the redeeming of PET and glass bottles as well as aluminium cans.