Government of Seychelles looks inward as it promotes greener environmental policies
Paper bags -- a possible replacement for plastic bags now that the ban is in force. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency
(Seychelles News Agency) - Greener practices are being promoted in all government departments as the Seychelles’ Ministry of Environment adopts new measures to eliminate single-use plastic products, said a top environment officer.
“We are telling people to stop using plastics and we are passing new laws and regulations, but it needs to start with us in the government,” said Nanette Laure, director general for waste, enforcement and permit section.
The decision follows the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers in an attempt to make the government a leading example in the effort to get rid of single-use of plastic products such as plastic cups, plates, cuts Styrofoam takeaway boxes.
Laure said that a list of recommendations has been put forward advising government departments to stop using plastic products in their activities.
Margaret Pillay, the deputy Cabinet Secretary for Policy Affairs, said that this “has already started in every meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers whereby we have replaced the use of plastic cups with those made out of glass.”
Speaking to SNA on Monday, the principal secretary of environment, Alain Decommarmond, said that this illustrates good governance on behalf of the government.
He said that this should not apply “for plastic products only, but the government should become a leading example in every measures and policy it puts in place.”
A ban on the importation of Styrofoam takeaway boxes, and plastic items such as carrier bags, plates, cups and cutlery took effect in January last year. In another push to reduce plastic in Seychelles, the importation of single-use plastic straws was banned earlier this year.
Laure said the list is “being continuously reviewed as there are things which can be removed under the exemption to be banned. And for that, we are speaking with the relevant authorities.”
The new measures are also looking at new building developments in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
“We are advising the government that when they are considering a new proposal of building developments to think of ways and design that is more environmentally friendly. A good example is how to conserve water and how to use solar renewable energy,” added Laure.
As a way of ensuring that the ban on these items is respected, the ministry is working closely with the trade and customs division of the Seychelles Revenue Commission to screen all requests for import permits.
Under the Environment Protection regulation 2017 on the restriction on manufacturing, importation and distribution of plastic bag, the Ministry of Environment can fine businesses not adhering to the ban.