We ask our tourists and our tourist providers to be mindful and careful of our Ipukarea, environment, then at the airport we hand them one-use plastic bottles of water and in all our bars and restaurants we serve their drinks with a plastic straw, whether they want one or not. In fact, sometimes even when you ask not to have a straw in your water they automatically bring one to you.
This has to stop if we are serious about saving our environment from plastic pollution. In the UK and US alone, 550 million straws are thrown away every day!
Most of them are not recyclable and end up in the landfills or in our oceans and become stuck in the stomachs of whales and dolphins and, as we have seen, stuck up our turtles’ noses.
We are not babies and we do not need straws to drink from a glass. In fact, if you watch people at a bar or restaurant most of them take the straw out before drinking.
This is an important time for our islands to start helping ourselves from drowning in the sea of plastic collecting in the ocean which is now large enough to be bigger in area of the country of France! We can’t be telling people not to pollute our islands and not give them ways to avoid doing so. We should not be encouraging pollution.
In our attempts to give good customer service why don’t our accommodation resorts offer their guests a reusable water bottle with their company logo on it, with a map of all the water stations around the island they can refill at away from their accommodation.
This will not only encourage good advertising for the resort, but also speak volumes in actions, not words, that we are serious about reducing the plastic pollution in our country and globally.
Our Health and Tourism ministries can act together to enhance and highlight the free filtered water stations around the island so tourists know they can refill their water bottles safely and feel they are part of the big picture of saving our country from pollution.
Tourism could market bright pink reusable water bottles to their agents and suppliers and encourage tourists to purchase at the airport and have a refill station right there, so when they arrive they can be refreshed with good filtered water, promoting our health and environment at the same time.
Plastic straws need to be banned across the nation and paper ones used instead, but only if and when necessary, or specifically requested.
“Say no to straws”, is a worldwide call for all countries to adopt and put an end to the billions of straws ending up in our oceans. Pictures of sea ocean animals with stomachs full of plastic, and sea birds feeding their young chicks plastic are frequently seen on YouTube and the like. We cannot be blind to our own contribution to this plastic nightmare.
Palau recently introduced a pledge for all visitors to sign to say they will not harm the environment of Palau and they will do what they can to preserve it. We need to take similar action here and prove to our tourists we are not only talking the talk, we are also walking the walk.
Say no to plastic straws and one-use plastic bottles.
Let’s be the people who protect paradise from plastic pollution.
(Name and address supplied)