Seychelles forges ahead in fight against marine plastic – national action plan under discussion
Matatiken said in his address that "plastic is considered the largest, most harmful and most proportion of marine litter."
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles' environment department is developing a national action plan to identify key sources, pathways, hot spots and impacts of plastic pollution including microplastics in the island nation.
Key partners who will be involved in the project met last week to share knowledge on marine litter and plastic pollution, learn more about action plans from a global perspective and discuss existing information gaps in Seychelles.
In her presentation at the meeting, the head of the waste department, Nanette Laure, said, "We wanted to have new approaches on how to address marine litter and plastic pollution. Marine litter and plastic are varied, there is an increase in the quantities but we don't know how much are there."
The principal secretary for environment, Dennis Matatiken, said in his address that "plastic is considered the largest, most harmful and most proportion of marine litter, which can remain in the environment for centuries and even millennia."
The cumulative hazards and direct impact of marine plastics already contribute to an estimated $500 billion to $2.5 billion in marine eco-services per year, globally.
"We were amazed to see the amount of plastic in the 25 tonnes of waste that was collected on Aldabra in 2019 and also the subsequent years in the outer islands," he added.
In preparation for the programme, Seychelles, an archipelago, was invited to partner with UNEP in 2019 to pilot test a new approach to address the knowledge gap on marine litter and plastic and develop a national source inventory and action plan.
Through its involvement in the project, Seychelles will "enhance our national capacity, so as to able to gather more data, to be able to monitor the trends," said Laure.
The action plan will also enable the island nation to make better decisions when tackling the issue of plastic waste management as it will have available data to help make better decisions, she added.
Seychelles has put in place many measures to address the problem of marine litter. These include a solid waste management system, regular beach cleaning by private contractors, recycling programmes for pet plastic bottles and aluminium cans, as well as a ban on the use of single-use plastic bags, takeaway boxes and plastic straws.
"These measures are taken with the intention to keep the marine environment free of those products," said Matatiken.