Environment ministers have been discussing the issue of removing plastic bags from the litter stream and...
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Environment ministers have been discussing the issue of removing plastic bags from the litter stream and marine environment for long enough.
Every Australian wants our stunning rivers, oceans and waterways to have a clean and healthy future. Plastic pollution infests waterways, clogging them with plastic bags, packaging and microbeads. In Australia, the CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014 estimated there are over 124 billion individual pieces of visible plastic littering the Australian coastline.
The tripartisan 2016 Senate Inquiry into Marine Plastic Pollution urged Australian state and federal governments to ban plastic bags and microbeads as a matter of urgency.
Tasmania, the ACT, the Northern Territory and South Australia have already banned single use plastic bags and can improve their legislation to include 'so-called biodegradable' bags which are just as big a problem in the marine environment as conventional plastic bags.
We are calling on Environment Ministers in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia to catch up and take immediate action by banning single use plastic bags (including so-called biodegradable bags).
Plastic pollution is lethal. We need strong action now.
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In July 2017 Environment Ministers are meeting to discuss what to do about plastic bags.
Tasmania, the ACT, The Northern Territory and South Australia have already banned single use plastic bags and Queensland is introducing a ban in July 2018.
We're making sure when they meet that the NSW, Victorian and WA Ministers know there is huge community support for taking action on plastic bags. We've joined with 49 community and environment groups, representing thousands of members, to write an open letter demanding greater action. Add your name to the open letter today to let the ministers know you support a ban on plastic bags.
There is increasing evidence that even though a small percentage of bags are littered and then broken up into smaller and smaller pieces – they have a devastating impact on the environment. This includes so called ‘biodegradable’ bags, which are just as dangerous in the marine environment.
With the CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014 estimating there are over 124 billion individual pieces of visible plastic littering the Australian coastline – and a large legacy of plastic from previous years becoming microplastic – action needs to be taken on multiple fronts.
Plastic pollution is a major threat to wildlife. Globally it is estimated that 1 million sea birds and over 100,000 mammals die every year as a result of plastic ingestion or entanglement. Of great concern are the secondary microplastics derived from broken up bags and bottles.
We estimate that some 180 million bags enter the Australian environment every year.
Read the full letter and our policy recommendations here
Thanks to our partners who joined the open letter.
Showing 1710 reactions
Simply going along with business as usual, and encouraging consumer responsibility will not solve the problem. Personally, I try my best not to use plastic bags, but they’re too convenient and ubiquitous, and it’s difficult to say no sometimes.
I know I am not alone.
However, I also know that I can live life without plastic bags – especially if it means a better outcome for our precious marine life.
Australia has always been a world leader in litter reduction – let’s keep it that way! Ban single use plastic bags now.
Sea salt has plastic in it now