December 16, 2014
The Galapagos Governing Council recently issued a new resolution to promote responsible consumption of plastics by regulating the marketing and distribution of disposable plastic products in the Islands. The resolution seeks to rid the Islands of unnecessary plastics such as plastic shopping bags, of which approximately 4.5 million are used in Galapagos annually. The Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) began delivering cloth bags for each family in the archipelago to be used for everyday purchases through a grant from Celebrity Xpedition’s Galapagos Fund.
On a global scale, plastics contribute to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million seabirds, fish, whales, and turtles each year. Restricting single-use plastics on the Islands is an important first step towards reducing their impact.
Over the following weeks, GNP rangers and students of the GNP’s environmental education program will visit community members door-to-door to deliver free, reusable cloth shopping bags — which can be re-used for several years. The goal of this campaign is to raise community awareness about the environmental and social issues caused by plastic products, and to make the province an example of responsible plastic consumption.
Beginning in August 2015, there will be a ban on the use of plastic products that pose serious problems in the trash generated in the Islands, since they take around 400 years to decompose. Managers and employees of major local companies are being trained to promote the use of products other than plastic bags on the archipelago.
Banning plastic shopping bags and other items will not stop their use immediately, but the goal is that by 2017, no more such products in use on the Islands.
Translated with permission from the Galapagos National Park Directorate. Please contact Galapagos Conservancy with inquiries.