By Daniel Laurence
Seychelles immediately banned the import of balloons and their use on beaches while restrictions on their other uses, distributions and sales were postponed until September, a senior environment official said.
The decision to postpone some of the planned restrictions was taken Wednesday at a virtual cabinet meeting chaired by President Wavel Ramkalawan, amid concerns expressed by traders.
The director general of waste and permit enforcement at the Ministry of the Environment, Nanette Laure, told SNA on Thursday that “since the country has taken restrictive measures due to COVID-19[female[feminine, traders say their sales have declined due to few rallies. Therefore, we have raised this concern so that we can make the decision. “
She said if the situation persisted, the government would have to reconsider the decision after September.
All forms of plastic, biodegradable, rubber and toy balloons will not be allowed in the country. However, balloons used for meteorological purposes are exempt from the ban.
Laure said anyone failing to meet the set date will face a fixed penalty of SCR 500 ($ 32) and if not paid the person will be subject to legal action, including a fine not exceeding 20,000 SCR ($ 1,285).
The balloon ban was announced by President Ramkalawan last November.
Ramkalawan said that “we have noticed that balloons are used more frequently at the beach. These are left behind and washed away during high tides, and end up in the oceans, where they have a destructive impact on marine life. “
The island nation, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has imposed bans on several plastic items in recent years in an effort to further protect its environment. Plastic bags, plastic utensils including cups, forks, take-out boxes and polystyrene plates have been banned since 2017. This was followed by a ban on single-use plastic straws in June 2019 .