Barbados is banning single-use plastic to become a more sustainable travel destination

  • Thu,7 Feb 2019 07:52:38 PM

Attitudes towards single-use plastic are rapidly changing – most of us have become used to a paper straw at the pub and taking our own carrier bags to the supermarket. Now, Barbados has gone one step further and is banning it entirely.

From April 1, you won’t be able to buy any kind of petro-based single-use plastic – that’s plastic made from petroleum, which isn’t biodegradable.

It’s a bold step – so why is the country doing it?

What impact can single-use plastic have?

It’s hard to comprehend the environmental damage single-use plastic has. The World Economic Forum has found that one rubbish truck of plastic is dumped into the oceans every minute. Not only is this visual pollution, but can be incredibly damaging for wildlife that might ingest it.

A study by CSIRO (Australia’s national science research agency) and Imperial College London estimates that 90% of seabirds alive today have eaten some kind of plastic. It predicts plastic ingestion will affect 99% of the world’s seabird species by 2050.

What is Barbados doing?

Many tourists are drawn to Barbados because of its natural beauty – immaculate beaches, perfect gardens and a whole lot of exotic wildlife like turtles, pelicans and monkeys.

With this ban, the country is hoping to protect all of these assets. UK director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Cheryl Carter says: “Plastic contributes to the contamination of our marine species and the water surrounding our beautiful island.

“Banning single-use plastics goes some way to ensuring the protection of our pristine beaches and crystal clear waters that we are famous for. Continuing to attract guests is our priority as we seek to enhance our sustainable credentials and continue to be an environmentally-friendly destination.”

 
 
 
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From April 1, petro-based single-use plastics will be banned. By January 1, 2020, the country plans to ban all petro-based plastic bags (with the exemption of those used for the packaging of pharmaceuticals, medicines, hygiene and the preservation of food).

This is in line with their intention of being an environmentally-friendly country –  aiming to be fossil fuel-free by 2030.

Have any other countries implemented a ban like this?

Many countries have initiatives to reduce single-use plastics – at the end of last year the European Parliament voted to ban a range of products like plastic cutlery, cotton buds and straws.

It’s actually many developing countries who are leading the way in implementing wider-reaching bans. Take Costa Rica, which like Barbados attracts a huge amount of tourists every year because of its astounding natural beauty.

Last year Costa Rica announced its intentions of being the first country to ban all single-use plastic. According to the World Economic Forum, the country wants to achieve this aim by 2021 by getting rid of straws, bottles, bags and more. It came after a video went viral of marine biologists pulling a plastic straw from a turtle’s nostril.

With many countries taking a long hard look at their relationship with plastic, Barbados and Costa Rica are really leading by example.

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