Island-nation Vanuatu to ban disposable diapers in fight against pollution

It is but a tiny speck in the Pacific Ocean, but the island state of Vanuatu is leading the global fight against plastic waste. Being one of several Pacific nations severely affected by climate change, Vanuatu introduced one of the toughest single-use plastic bans in the world earlier this year. However, it seems that the island is not stopping there.

Just this week, Vanuatu scaled up its fight against pollution by becoming the first country in the world to propose a ban on disposable diapers. The nappy ban, which still needs final approval, is scheduled to be phased in at the end of this year. Disposable diapers pose an environmental nuisance as they are lined with non-biodegradable plastic and can take hundreds of years to degrade. The human waste they contain also leaches harmful chemicals into the environment, rather than going through the sewerage system to minimize its impact.

By stepping away from the convenience of plastics, Vanuatu’s leaders aim to set an example that the rest of the world, especially some countries that rely on plastics including the United States, can follow. As for Vanuatu’s initial ban on plastic bags, straws and polystyrene containers, researchers say it seems to be having an effect.

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