Reducing plastic waste should be a priority for the Seychellois and for the world. Too much of it ends up in our oceans and barely a day goes by before another video of an animal suffering after eating a man-made plastic item goes viral.

But it’s not only animals that are affected. The Guardian, a British newspaper, reported this week that scientists at Ghent University in Belgium recently calculated that shellfish eaters are ingesting up to 11,000 plastic fragments in their seafood each year. Similarly, in a study undertaken by Plymouth University, it was reported that plastic was found in a third of UK-caught fish, including cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish.

This is why we should praise the government for their admirable efforts to cut the amount of plastic consumption in Seychelles. At the start of this year, a ban on importing Styrofoam lunch boxes and plastic bags, plates, cups and cutlery into Seychelles was put into action. What’s more, it is hoped that these items will be phased out of stores by July.

The Seychelles News Agency reported that officials from the department of environment say they are making sure the country adheres to the new regulations by working with the trade division to screen all requests for import permits, and liaising with major retailers to ensure no plastics are entering the country. Such action should be encouraged and lauded.

“We are working closely with the trade division to screen all requests for import permits. We are also actively following up on known retailers and we are in constant contact with bigger retailers to make sure that plastics are no longer entering the country.”

– Marie-May Muzungaile, director-general at Seychelles Ministry of Environment and Energy

We must also praise the excellent work of the SIDS Youth Aims Hub (SYAH): a Seychelles free from plastic bags was a campaign undertaken by SYAH in 2015 aimed at encouraging the Seychellois to opt for reusable bags. Keep up the excellent work.