Dr Transform: Ban on single-use-plastic will positively impact our economy and marine biodiversity
Solomon Islands is two and a half months now in an effort to battle single-use-plastic in the country in collaboration with the industries and business sectors, since September 1st, 2023.
The organizations and business sectors in Honiara have been progressively implementing the Solomon Islands Government’s stand to prohibit the importation, manufacturing, distribution, sale and general use of single use plastic across the country.
For instance, Bulk Shop, Solomon Islands’ sole local business is now encouraging its valued customers and clients to bring in their own re-usable shoppings bags as well as giving out shopping bags to its customers, at the cashier section.
In an exclusive interview with Dr Transform Aqorau, Vice-Chancellor of the Solomon Islands National University (SINU), he highlighted the importance of the ban and its likely impacts to the local economy and marine resources.
He said the ban on single-use plastics can have a significant impact on the economic benefits of marine resources, although the effects might be complex as it unfolds over time.
He pointed out the immediate cost that is tied with the implementation of the ban might incurred, as industries adapt to using sustainable materials instead of single-use plastics. In terms of regulatory Costs, the implementations of bans and penalties could require investments in monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
For Long-Term Economic Benefits, Dr Transform said Pristine marine environments are a huge draw for tourists. The ban on plastics would contribute to cleaner oceans, thereby attracting more tourism and boosting the local economy.
In terms of fishing and biodiversity, he explains that a cleaner marine environment would lead to healthier fish populations, which is beneficial for commercial and local fishing. Over time, this could increase yields and thereby incomes. Less pollution would likely mean more balanced ecosystems. Biodiversity ecosystems are more resilient and can be a source of new pharmaceuticals, increasing the economic value of marine biodiversity.
“Governments and organizations spend millions on cleaning up plastic wastes. A ban would eventually lower these costs, freeing up resources for other uses. Countries that implement such progressive policies often find themselves in favourable global standing, potentially attracting foreign investments in sustainable projects related to marine resources.”
“The demand for sustainable alternatives to plastic could spur innovation and the development of new industries, such as biodegradable materials, creating jobs and economic growth.”
Meanwhile, the ban of single-use-plastic also have risk factors. He said there could be economic disruption. Industries heavily reliant on single-use-plastic might face economic hardships or job losses in the short term and ineffective implementation could lead to the rise of illegal distribution of single-use plastics.
“While there might be initial economic costs in implementing a ban on single-use plastics, the long-term benefits to marine resources are likely to outweigh these. Cleaner oceans are not just good for the planet; they’re good for the economy too,” Dr Transform said.
The move of Solomon Islands Government to ban the single-use-plastic is important for a safer-city for its citizen, friendly environment for all and is also part of the Safe and Green Games campaign, preparing for the 17th Pacific Games 2023. –Ends