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Leading environmentally-aware island, Aruba, is again setting the standard for the region with a ban on all single-use plastic now being enforced.
This landmark move took effect this month following a government decision last year. The ban covers everyday items like plastic cups and plates, straws and stirrers, plastic cutlery and plastic takeaway food containers.
In essence, any disposable plastic used in the consumption of food and drink is now off the menu in Aruba. Single use plastic bags have been banned since 2017.
In addition, Aruba’s government has prohibited sunscreens containing oxybenzone. A transition phase is in place, with a full ban effective next year.
Coral reefs around the world, including along Aruba’s coastlines, are suffering from bleaching, with oxybenzone directly impacting corals’ defensive abilities. Bleaching is typically brought on by unusually warm waters, but it is not necessarily a death sentence if the coral can regenerate. Chemicals like oxybenzone damage the DNA of coral, preventing it from recovering and developing.
Aruba’s environmental credentials were further strengthened earlier this year when its popular adults-only resort, Bucuti & Tara Beach was named the inaugural winner of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Climate Action Award as a result of achieving carbon-neutrality.
The 2017 plastic bag ban dramatically reduced litter around the island and, crucially, on its beaches and sea. Campaigners hope the single-use plastic ban will have a similar beneficial effect on the island, reducing litter, creating less waste to manage, healthier reefs and an improved environment for wildlife.