BY SANDRA OTOYA
After almost a year of continuous debate, Peru has joined the global fight against plastic pollution. In a unanimous vote earlier this month, Peru’s Congress approved an ambitious national law to discourage and significantly reduce single-use plastics.
The new legislation regulates the consumption and production of disposables, such as plastic bags, straws, expanded polystyrene packages and plastic tableware. These non-reusable packaging items comprise about 40 percent of plastic generated worldwide and are the primary source of marine pollution.
“This is great news for all Peruvians,” said Oceana in Peru’s Policy Director Carmen Heck. The historic victory came after Oceana, the Ministry of Environment and 13 top Peruvian chefs launched a public campaign last October, pressuring Congress and raising stakeholder awareness about plastics in Peru.
Four months from now, single-use plastics won’t be allowed in Peru’s vulnerable environments, like beaches and protected areas. And in one to three years, Peru will limit plastic’s manufacture for domestic use, import, distribution, delivery and trade. The new law also enforces a tax on plastic bags, and requires that plastic bottles contain 15 percent recycled materials.
Our team in Peru is thrilled with the new law as an excellent starting point, to educate consumers and the private sector, and inspire immediate progressive action to reduce plastic consumption. This is just a stepping stone in the long journey to a future of healthy oceans.