Kawenu school children who won first place in the singing competition to promote the ban on plastics in Vanuatu. Photo: Wan Smobag Theatre
'This planet is not a rubbish bin', 'we must care for the environment', 'Save animals and marine lives' were some key messages highlighted at a singing competition in Port Vila, Vanuatu to promote a nationwide ban on plastic straws, single-use plastic shopping bags and polystyrene takeaway boxes that came into effect on 1July, 2018.
Organised by Vanuatu’s popular theatre group, Wan Smolbag Theatre, the Efate Schools Plastic Ban Singing Competition on Friday 29 June 2018 attracted five main primary schools from around Port Vila.
Wan Smolbag Theatre’s Project Manager, Miss. Jodi Devine said the idea was to allow the students - as future leaders - to have their say on the plastic ban.
“The schools wrote original songs about the ban, looking at issues around plastic pollution in the sea and the effects of littering. But the schools went further than just singing! Kawenu School students made and wore green t-shirts with a plastic ban theme and Imere School used plastic bags in the song, singing out, Stop stop stop plastic now!
“It is encouraging to see this level of support and engagement from the primary schools. The students have spoken out through their songs that they want the environment to be protected for the future.
“One hundred and forty students took part in the competition and they all gave excellent performances which made it very hard for the judges to decide on the winners. Kawenu School came first, Imere second, Esnar Pango School third, Central Fourth and Amambaru School fifth. Wan Smobag would like to thank SPREP, Azure Pure Water, Port Vila Municipality, Department of Foreign Affairs and ‘No Plastik Bag Plis’ for their support to the event.” Miss. Jodi added.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) through the Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) project (PEBACC) together with the other partners supported the event with prizes such as reusable shopping bags and reusable water bottles for the participating schools.
Wan Smolbag hopes to record the songs from the competition in August this year so the wider public can enjoy and be educated about the plastic ban.
According to Vanuatu’s Daily Post newspaper, many organisations in Vanuatu including the two municipalities are on board with the ban as Vanuatu becomes the first country in the Pacific to ban the use of single-use plastic bags.
“Au Bon Marche (ABM), the largest supermarket in Port Vila with six outlets has restricted customers from using plastic bags as of yesterday. Customers were advised to bring along their own reusable bags or purchase at the counter.
“Some Chinese shops have also welcomed the ban.” Vanuatu Daily Post reported.
The ban on single-use plastic bags will allow for the use of traditional woven baskets that promote identity and support Vanuatu’s economy instead of single-use plastic bags that are harmful to the environment and marine life.
Wan Smolbag Theatre receives core funding from ‘Australian Aid, New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade Aid Program and Oxfam.
For further information please contact:
Mr. David Loubser, PEBACC Vanuatu Country Manager [email protected] or
Miss. Jodi Devine, Project Manager, Wan Smolbag Theatre, [email protected]