Seychelles plastics ban a hit at island ocean event at the UN
September 25, 2016
Seychelles’ ban on the most polluting plastic and Styrofoam products was well received at an event for small island developing states at the United Nations in New York on Thursday aimed at enlisting SIDS in a global initiative to save the oceans.
The UN SIDS x Parley high-level event was organised by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), and Parley for the Oceans, an international partnership to raise awareness about the state of the oceans and to collaborate on projects that can protect and conserve them.
The high representative, UN Under-Secretary General Gyan Acharya, read a message of support from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the event, which was attended by SIDS prime ministers, ministers and ambassadors and representatives of NGOs and the private sector led by sportswear giant Adidas, a founding member of Parley.
The event was to promote the ‘Parley AIR’ Strategy (Avoid, Intercept and Redesign). This is to avoid the use of fossil fuel-based plastic through education and communication, intercept and clean up plastic waste in coastal communities, and redesign and recycle plastic into new materials that are less harmful.
Representing Seychelles, Ronny Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and SIDS Issues, surprised the room when he announced that only the day before, the islands had gone a step further and banned plastic carrier bags, plates, cups and cutlery and Styrofoam takeaway boxes.
The first innovation born out of the Parley partnership is the Adidas x Parley running shoe made from plastic recycled from the ocean. Part of the shoe upper is made from recycled illegal gill nets retrieved from the ocean by Parley’s partner organisation Sea Shepherd. The rest of the upper is made up of waste plastic collected from the coasts and beaches of Maldives.
The event was told that Adidas will produce a million pairs of the the shoes over 12 months, equivalent to removing 11 million plastic bottles from the beaches of Maldives.
Another of Parley’s island partners is Grenada and the prime ministers of the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu signed on to the strategy at the event.