Community leaders in the South Pacific islands plan to ban all Western junk food to give importance to local, organic products for consumption. The initiative is seen to combat health problems and promote the islands' agricultural lands and natural resources.
The "forgotten province" of Torba, Vanuatu leads the call to enforce limitations against the import of junk food. Head of the Local Tourism Council Father Luc Dini told The Guardian, "At the moment we have an infiltration of junk food from overseas."
He continued to mention that, "It is easy to boil noodles or rice, but they have almost no nutritional value, and there is no need to eat imported food when we have so much local food grown organically on our islands." Torba's population reaches only 10,000 and most locals are engaged in farming.
Popular produce in the island are fish, crabs, shellfish, taro, yams, paw paw and pineapple according to the same report. Meanwhile, the most typical Western food the locals consumed are rice, sweets, tinned fish, and biscuits.
Dini said, "We are Vanuatu's most isolated province, and so far our health has stayed pretty good because of that, but we want to continue to be healthy." He cited one example in other provinces that have adopted western diets and see "pretty young girls, but when they smile they have rotten teeth because the sugar has broken down their teeth," he said.
"We don't want that to happen here, and we don't want to develop the illnesses that come with a Western junk food diet," Dini pointed out. Together with the support of other village chiefs, Dini sets out a new policy where travel bungalows should only serve locally grown, organic food and ban all Western junk food by 2020.
"If you want to live in a paradise of your own, then you should make do with what you have and try and live with nature," Dini said. He plans Torba in becoming the first organic province by the next three years.
According to The Telegraph, nine of the top 20 most obese countries are found in the South Pacific Islands. These countries are American Samoa, Nauru, the Cook Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Samoa, Palau, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.
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