The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has announced that it will ban disposable diapers as part of a nationwide effort to curb plastic pollution, which has overwhelmed the tiny country in recent years. With such limited land mass, it has nowhere it can toss its garbage and forget about it. Vanuatu's ban is believed to be the first such ban on disposable diapers anywhere in the world.
The nation had announced it was considering such a ban earlier this year. Despite the ruling's impact on environmental management, many parents and women's groups view it was a setback, a return to the time-consuming and old-fashioned diapering practices of the past, but the government argues it has no choice.
Mike Masauvakalo, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says, "Vanuatu is safeguarding its future. Eventually, plastics find their way into the water and the food chain and at the end of the day, the people of Vanuatu end up consuming [them]... It is a long road ahead. But knowing my country, we will work it out."
Previous bans issued in the island nation inlcude plastic bags, polystyrene containers and straws in July 2018. These have reportedly helped the percentage of household waste that is plastic drop from 18 in 2014 to two, just one month after the ban was introduced.