MP hopes Bindi Irwin will help plastic bag ban campaign
YOU'RE almost guaranteed to find at least one in every household.
Most people even have a drawer or cupboard in the kitchen dedicated to them.
They're great for putting wet swimmers in and used daily to transport items from A to B.
The problem is, they're choking our wildlife, waterways and wider environment.
What are they? Plastic bags.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga is backing a proposed ban of plastic bags in Queensland, starting in Livingstone Shire.
The campaign to ban plastic bags from Capricornia's beautiful beaches is poised to receive a massive boost with the potential involvement of one of Australia's best-known wildlife warriors Bindi Irwin.
Mrs Lauga approached Bindi to be the high-profile face of the Ban Plastic Bags campaign, which is driving an e-petition to encourage legislation to ban the bags that are a killer for wildlife and waterways.
She said Bindi would be a wonderful ambassador for this campaign, given her genuine love of the natural environment demonstrated through her personal work at Australia Zoo and her media campaigns.
"Plastic Bag-Free Livingstone Shire" is ramping up its social media campaign in an attempt to harness public and corporate support and encourage legislative changes to ban plastic bags along the Capricorn Coast," Mrs Lauga said.
"We have some retailers behind the ban, as well as business leaders and volunteers, and we're in discussions for support from the World Wildlife Fund and working with the Plastic Bag-Free Queensland campaign is working to make Queensland a plastic bag-free state.
"They know that to make a change might be difficult because of our shopping habits, but they also understand we need to start somewhere and some time to make a better future ... and that some time is now."
Mrs Lauga has been working closely with the Plastic Bag-Free Livingstone Shire group that has been running an online petition to tackle the issue.
"We have also been linked with http://www.change.org and its national support for the same issue," Mrs Lauga said.
Two months ago, the Palaszczuk Government floated a scheme to introduce a ban on single-use plastic bags while also bringing in container deposit laws to reduce a sea of litter that has made Queensland Australia's dirtiest state.
Mrs Lauga said State Environment Minister Steven Miles was consulting with industry, conservation and public views before a final decision was made.
Such is the extent of litter that reports show Queensland rates of discarded rubbish are 40% above the national average and a departmental survey had found that 40% of small sea turtles passing through Moreton Bay off Brisbane had consumed plastics.
Mrs Lauga said the Palaszczuk Government has established an advisory council with representatives from regional councils, the retail industry and conservationists to assist in preparing for public consultation later this year.
"I want to see people in Keppel appreciate the damage and become part of the solution and set the standard for the rest of Australia," the MP said.
"It's about more than just saving turtles who suffocate in the bags - it's about taking oil-based poisons out of our water and our land and giving us and our children a cleaner future.
"It's also about educating people of the dangers plastic bags pose to marine and wildlife, with the end goal having every retailer in the shire go plastic bag-free, permanently."
Plastic Bag-Free Livingstone Shire spokesperson Jo Stoyel said putting the plastic bag issue in the "too hard" basket would have a negative affect on the environment for years to come.
"Some shops already go plastic bag-free but the attitude of the vast majority of them, and shoppers, is that it's all too hard," Ms Stoyel said.
"We began this campaign after watching turtles choking, suffocating and dying from ingesting plastic bags and having them wrapped around their heads.
"The more we look around, the more we realise that plastic bags are choking us as well.
"If we care about ourselves, our planet, then this is the time to stop, the time is now."
The Plastic Bags-Free group has created locally-made material bags for shopping in stores or the markets.
To sign the petition, visit parliament.qld.gov.au/ work-of -assembly/ petitions/e-petitions.
The facts about plastic bags:
- A single-use plastic bag has an average useful lifespan of 12 minutes.
- Plastic bags take up to 1000 years to fully decompose.
- They break down into smaller pieces, posing an event greater opportunity to the wildlife that ingests them.
- Plastic in the ocean kills over one million birds and 100,000 sea mammals every year.
- 30% of sea turtle deaths in Moreton Bay are attributable to plastic ingestion.
- Australians throw out about four billion plastic bags every year, adding up to 20,700 tonnes of plastic that could be recycled
- More than 25 countries around the world have banned or levied plastic bags.
- Single-use plastics bags are banned in South Australia, the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.