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In order to enter the island nation of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean, visitors must now sign a "passport pledge" to protect the environment.

The mandatory vow was enacted to counter the negative effects of tourism on the country's 200 islands and their coral reefs, volcanic hills, rich biodiversity, and cultural sites. 

The move makes Palau the world's first nation to change immigration laws in the name of environmental protection.

And this is no mere feel-good measure: For breaking the pact, violators can be fined up to $1 million, according to the Washington Post.

Written with contributions from children across Palau, the text of the pledge, which is stamped in visitors' passports and must be signed before entry to the country, reads as follows:

Children of Palau, I take this pledge, as your guest, to preserve and protect your beautiful and unique island home.

I vow to tread lightly, act kindly and explore mindfully.

I shall not take what is not given.

I shall not harm what does not harm me.

The only footprints I shall leave are those that will wash away.


Among the actions that qualify as violations of the pledge: collecting seashells and other marine life souvenirs, feeding fish, stepping on or touching coral, taking fruit or flowers from gardens, and littering.

Come to think of it, that's a good list of no-nos to keep in mind wherever your travels take you. 



Tags: palau, environment, passports, entry requirements, tourism

Categories: Beach & Water Sports, Entry Requirements & Customs, News, Outdoor & Adventure