The Coalition’s policy to grow Australia’s recycling industry will not be enough to stem the tide of plastic pollution on our beaches and in our oceans, the Australian Marine Conservation Society has said.
Responding to the Coalition’s announcement, AMCS Plastics Campaigner James Cordwell said: “The focus on support for recycling and an investment in helping our Pacific neighbours remove plastic pollution from the oceans is welcome.
“However, if we are to tackle the alarming rate at which plastics are getting into our waterways and oceans and into the stomachs of our wildlife we need to phase out all single-use plastics urgently.
“AMCS is calling on all parties to implement a mandatory target to cut plastic pollution by 70 per cent. Industry needs support to help us get there, which is why we want to see an accreditation program that recognises businesses that are taking action.
“The Coalition’s $5 million to run clean up campaigns in our beaches and rivers will support people that want to take some practical steps. It’s a hard truth that every piece of plastic that turns up on a beach or inside a marine animal is a token of our failure to deal with the problem at the source.
“We need to go to the source and cut the production of plastic – so our rivers, oceans and beaches can again be clean and healthy. It’s what they need and deserve.”
Cordwell said plastic pieces had been found two kilometres deep in our precious Great Australian Bight, in the guts of birds, fish and seafood and in our tap water and bottled water.
“We have plastics strewn on beaches and mangroves in areas we’d like to think of as remote and pristine,” he added.
In the coming election, Cordwell said AMCS was asking all parties to commit to an Australia-wide ban on single-use plastics by 2023 and a national target to cut the amount of plastics entering our waterways and oceans by 70 per cent.
AMCS is asking all parties for policies that will deliver “cooler and cleaner oceans” and the group will publicly release an election scorecard next week to help inform voters ahead of the election.