Aruba Plastic Ban Comes into Force
Aruba’s ban on single-use plastic throughout the Caribbean island came into force December 2019. The Aruba plastic ban covers items including straws, stirrers, cups and plates, cutlery, and take-away food containers.
In a move that is seen as setting the standard for the Caribbean, Aruba banned the use of all single-use plastic in 2018. This followed the prohibition of single-use plastic bags the previous year.
Aruba bans Oxybenzone
The Caribbean island has also prohibited the use of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, although this is currently in transition with a total ban to be implemented in 2020.
Globally, coral reefs are suffering from bleaching, which occurs in warm waters. Chemicals such as oxybenzone damage the coral’s DNA preventing it from recovering from the bleaching and developing.
In September, Aruba launched its biggest ever voluntourism project to protect its endangered coral reefs, for the Aruba Reef Care Project.
Since 1995, the Aruba Reef Care Project has been perhaps the best known as well as largest volunteer environmental initiative on the island, raising awareness of the need to preserve the sea environment. Arubalife Organics markets a biodegradable 30 SPF Reef-Safe Organic Sunscreen Butter, made with natural ingredients such as shea butter, coconut and jojoba oils and beeswax.
According to the Coral Restoration Foundation, “Life on Earth needs coral reefs. They are the ‘rainforests of the sea’, supporting 25 per cent of all marine life, protecting our shores, feeding our people, providing breathtaking natural playgrounds that underpin economies around the world. Yet coral reefs are among the most endangered ecosystems in the world.”
Climate Action Award
Earlier in the year, adults-only resort, Bucuti & Tara Beach became the first winner of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Climate Action Award for becoming carbon neutral, the first such resort in the Caribbean.
The 2017 Aruba plastic bag ban reduced rubbish on the island’s beaches and sea. Environmental campaigners believe the total Aruba plastic ban will benefit the whole island leading to an improved environment for wildlife and tourists alike.