The Galapagos Islands Free of Plastic since May 2018
On April 25th, 2018 the Galapagos National Park Authority announced the enforcement of a new policy regarding the use of plastic disposable bags, bottles, Styrofoam containers and straws. The goal of this strategy is primarily to protect the environment; and also, for public health, according to Mrs. Lorena Tapia, member of the insular government.
The new regulations will be implemented in stages based on this schedule:
Based on this policy, neither travelers or service providers can use or introduce:
- Beginning May 22 – No disposable plastic bottles or any non-returnable bottles, e., water bottles.
- From June 21 – No disposable plastic bags (usually used for carrying groceries)
- Starting July 21 – No Styrofoam containers for storage and carrying prepared food.
- From August 21 – No disposable straws.
With this new policy, both the Galapagos Directorate and the Environmental Ministry expect to minimize the impact that disposable plastic products are having on the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. In fact, according to the Galapagos Science Center managed by the USFQ and North Carolina University, almost 20 species within the archipelago have been affected by swallowing or entanglement with these materials.
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In addition to the new policy, the Ministry is starting a public campaign to sensitize people, both locals and tourists in the usage of plastic in the archipelago. There is also a strategy to substitute sustainable materials such as glass or paper for plastic.
It is shocking to know that 22 tons of plastic was collected in the Enchanted Islands in 2016. More than 90% of the plastic comes from the coast of Ecuador as well as Peru, Chile, the Philippines, and Central America, according to Mr. Jorge Carrion, Minister of Environment in Ecuador.
In the meantime, the travel and tour industry in Ecuador and worldwide are beginning to educate travaelers about this plastic regulation so they will be prepared. This can include bringing reusable water bottles and straws to use during their visit to the Galapagos.
Please be aware of this policy if you are traveling soon to the Enchanted Islands. For further information, please don´t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com