The Diaper Ban will be implemented nationwide on December 31, 2020.
The Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation (DEPC) is currently undertaking a nationwide consultation in relation to the Government’s decision on the ban.
The Government of Vanuatu through DEPC who represents the implementing agency for the banning of single-use plastic items is now working strenuously by carrying out the consultations and to meet the targeted date: 31st of December.
The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) under DEPC comprises the section responsible and with the assistance of the Provincial Outreach Division to plan out the whole consultation trips.
DEPC Senior Provincial Outreach Coordination and Communication Officer, Rontextstar Mogeror reported that the team has travelled to the areas of Malua Bay on Malekula including all the communities at North West A, from Potovoro to Welak.
The consultation meeting consists of each representative from each community which includes fathers, mothers, youths and people with disabilities.
“Though a few men were so reasoning and questioned the idea of the ban, the mothers however, were all in favor of the idea and asserted they were the ones in charge of taking care of their babies and they are willing to cope with the changes,” he stated.
A group of mothers North West A Malekula said they “are delighted with the Government’s decision to ban disposable baby diaper by the end of the year.
“Today we experience many problems where the disposable plastic diapers are affecting our environment and the health of our babies and it is genuine to oppose and wrong to be ignorant,” they said.
A mother who is a member of the Welak community said if mothers could handle this situation in the past, she believed today it is possible and with the upgrade and development of technology, the improvement of healthcare and the access to water supplies, she believed there is no doubt to contravene the conception.
She said the proposed alternative is to work with Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu — a local manufacturing company in Vanuatu that is committed to producing eco-friendly and sanitary nappies.
The mother claimed the Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu will remain as an attractive option to utilize and will cost less if the material could be reused as compared with the current disposable diaper.
From the overall visual examination and the data accumulated on Malekula and which yet needs to be analysed and published, majority of the people are in favor of the ban but Senior Officer Mogeror said as time unfolds, it will be interesting to follow the outcomes of the consultation which can officially determine a way forward for the implementation of the diaper ban.
Plastic has long been a liability and a risk to endangering the planet, according to reports. It has become a global environmental problem and by 2050, it is estimated the volume of plastic will be greater than that of fish in the sea.
In 2018, Vanuatu made history by being the first country in the South Pacific region to ban single-use plastic bags.
The ban favors the National Ocean Policy and will help to reduce plastic waste pollution which is constantly contaminating our environment and ocean.
At the end of 2019, the Council of Ministers (COM) had endorsed the second phase of the ban on single-use plastic items which included plastic flowers; plastic (polyethylene) egg cartons; fruit packaging materials such as nylon mesh nets and Styrofoam trays; single-use disposable plastic cutlery-knives; forks and spoons; single-use disposable plastic plates; disposable plastic stirrers for coffee and single-use plastic cups.
COM had initially approved that the sale, use and distribution of these items will be banned starting from December 1st 2019.
However, seeing how it is mandatory to carry out consultations beforehand, COM in its 5th Ordinary Meeting extended the phasing out of the use of disposable diapers for babies from December 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020.