Plastic bags to be phased out

The Ministry of Environment of Ecuador in cooperation with the Galapagos National Park Service  (GNPS) announced over the weekend that it will implement a programme for the reduction use of plastic bags in the archipelago, with the support of different institutions and organizations such as the Governing Council , World Wildlife Fund and the Ministry of Tourism.

In 2011 , the GNPS conducted a study to determine the level of consumption type of plastic bags in the islands, giving it the necessary information  to develop an appropriate bag reduction strategy. 

The study showed that each family consumes about two plastic bags a day , which means a total 4.5 million plastic bags a year .

Neither in the province of Galapagos , or any other part of Ecuador is there a law that prohibits or regulates the use of plastic bags for shopping.   There are only isolated initiatives to promote the use of cloth bags as an alternative to reduce consumption but these have always been voluntary.

With the recent support received from various institutions in the Galapagos, the GNPS will deliver to each of the 6300 families Galapagos a cloth bag for regular purchases , avoiding the consumption of plastic bags . The campaign plan includes broadcast media and environmental education .

In economic terms, if the campaign is effective, this will mean savings of approximately $ 130,000 per year by island merchants – not to mention the reduction in waste, and of course the benefits to the terrestrial and marine environment.