Palau has just introduced the world’s first passport eco pledge. What is it? Put simply it’s a large stamp in your passport that you sign, promising that you won’t damage the country’s natural beauty during your visit.
The initiative has been regarded as an ingenious new step in the effort to preserve the unique ecosystems found in Palau, an may be used by other countries in the future. This adds to Palau’s reputation in conservation, having established the world’s first shark sanctuary, as well as the world’s largest “no-take” marine protected area to date.
However, in recent years, Palau’s environment has been seeing the effects of the large amounts of tourism in the country. Although the money brought in by tourism is essential for the country, oil and pollution from boats, as well as extra waste from the tourism industry are causing concern for the islands’ residents.
Palau is a small archipelago of islands located in the western Pacific Ocean, and a site of outstanding natural beauty, popular with divers and tourists alike. With a population of 21,500, and ranked as the 13th smallest country on the planet, you’ve be forgiven if you’ve never heard of this little island paradise, but with 160,000+ tourists per year, tourism can have a massive effect on the country’s environment.
The citizens of Palau hope that this measure will help to preserve the beauty of the islands for future generations. Even though the country will only impose a fine if you do happen to cause damage to the natural surroundings, the hope is that by signing you will feel a personal obligation to keep the country pristine.
More than this, the Palau passport pledge looks amazing and is definitely a stamp that we want in our passports. Other nations take note.
If you’re interested in taking the pledge or finding out more, you can check out the Palau Pledge here.