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nsw must ban plastic bags

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Why Ban Plastic Bags? 

 

·         Conservative estimates have stated that there are currently five trillion pieces of plastic on the surface of the oceans with an additional eight million tonnes of plastics leaking into the ocean each year. That is the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic every minute of every day of the year.

·         Australia produces over 1.2 million tonnes of plastic per year. 37% of this is designed for single use purposes and only 20% gets recycled. A worrying amount of this ends up on our streets and in our waterways. 

·         The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation estimated that the cost of ocean plastics to the tourism, fishing and shipping industries was $1.3 billion in our region. In 2014, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimated that the annual damage of plastics to marine ecosystems is at least US$13 billion per year.

Do plastic bags impact animals and the environment?

·         More than 100,000 mammals and over 1 million seabirds die every year after ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic bags. 

·         Over 50 per cent of turtles worldwide have ingested marine debris. Over 60 per cent of some species of seabirds have been found with plastic in their gut. It is estimated that 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic by 2050.

·         Turtles, dolphins and whales often choke or starve to death after confusing plastic bags for jellyfish.

Does the Federal Government support a plastic bag ban?

·         An April 2016 Senate Report on the use of plastic recommended that “that the Australian Government support states and territories in banning the use of single-use lightweight plastic bags. In doing so, the Australia Government should ensure that alternatives do not result in other pollutants entering the environment.”

·         The report also stated that there are worrying gaps in our knowledge about the effects of marine plastic pollution. This includes impacts on the population levels of native animals, the effects on human health of plastics in the food chain, as well as the short and long-term effects of microplastics (tiny particles of disintegrated plastic bags).