Australia’s peak marine conservation body has welcomed the New South Wales government’s move to ban plastic bags, but they have urged politicians to move quickly for the sake of marine wildlife.
The NSW community has until 8 May to make submissions to the Berejiklian government’s proposals, which also includes the possibility of a ban on problematic single-use plastics like straws and stirrers, cutlery, polystyrene and bowls, cups and plates.
But it could be six months from the passing of laws before the initial bag ban is introduced, and another six months before the bags disappear forever. NSW is the last state in Australia to act.
Australian Marine Conservation Society Plastics spokesperson Shane Cucow said every day of political inaction put marine wildlife at risk from choking, entanglement and death due to NSW plastic bags.
“We’re excited to hear the NSW Government’s proposal to ban plastic bags. We urge them to act with haste and save animal lives now,” he said.
“We know that our turtles, whales and fish are being killed by plastic bags. Every other state and territory has a ban and they are working well. Even Coles and Woolies have banned the bag. There’s no need to wait.
“The NSW government states it wants to be a world leader in dealing with problematic plastics, but right now they’re at the back of the pack. To lead the way they must act decisively and ban killer plastics like straws, stirrers, cutlery, cups and plates.
“We urge the NSW government to make up for lost time and introduce their ban on other single-use plastics this year, joining South Australia, Queensland and the ACT.
“The people of New South Wales treasure their beautiful beaches and iconic marine life, and they want them protected. It’s time to turn off the tap, and stop the tide of pollution flowing into our oceans.”