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Byron Shire
April 15, 2024

Pop-up cemetery for marine life lost to plastic

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Photo from Positive Change for Marine Life Facebook page.
Photo from Positive Change for Marine Life Facebook page.

Activist group Positive Change for Marine Life joined with Ban The Bag NSW to stage a protest action at Byron Bay’s Main Beach on Sunday. Participants built a pop-up cemetery draped in plastic bags in memory of ‘the animals lost to plastic ingestion and entanglement’.

‘There was a huge amount of interest in the pop-up cemetery we constructed,’ says the group.

‘We sent a strong message to premier Mike Baird and environment minister Rob Stokes, along with other pop-up cemeteries happening around the state, that it’s time to ban the bag and ensure that we mitigate the devastating impacts that single-use plastic bags are having on millions of marine animals each year. ‘

Greens candidate Tamara Smith and Labor candidate Paul Spooner supported the action.

‘With the ACT, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania supporting plastic bag bans it’s time that NSW steps out of the dark ages and joins in banning these ecologically destructive items,’ says Positive Change for Marine Life.

Sign the petition at bit.ly/premlob


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  1. Stop interfering with people’s convenience. We love our plastic bags, and need them. No plastic bag goes without being recycled at least once in my house. They are used for damp togs, muddy shoes, dog shit etc. At the end of their lives they end up in our recycling bin, at the request of our Ballina Council!

    If some of you don’t like them, don’t use them. Join the little old ladies and greeny mob who bring their collections of canvas bags to Woolies and Coles, but allow the rest of us to use the free plastic bags. Just stay out of our hair with all your moralising guff and join your whales in the ocean.

    • Plastic bags can not be recycled. Plastic DOES NOT disappear. It just becomes smaller and smaller and affects everything in the food chain from seals and turtles down to plankton. There are five Islands of plastic in the Pacific Ocean; all of them by goer than Victoria!
      Our grand parents lived without plastic bags. We can too. Australia produces 6 billion plastic bags every year! Thanks for keeping that number going without consucinece.

  2. Do hope the plastic bags used were removed from the beach & disposed of properly as in recycled. Would not want any of them to fly out to sea & harm the sea creatures. Same with all the other stuff, such as the paper, used in this protest & the area used left neat & clean.

    One thing this activist group SHOULD be protesting is the mass release of balloons as they often end up floating out to sea & polluting the oceans causing major harm to turtles.

    PS Richmond Valley council now recycles all plastics including supermarket bags as should all councils.

  3. Hi Amanda and Joy,

    We do recycle and re-use all of the materials for any actions that we do. These particular bags were all collected from bag stations and had already been used. We also focus a lot of energy on balloon releases and other issues associated with marine debris as you can find on our website: pcfml.org.au

    Bags cannot be recycled Jon and unfortunately ‘convenience’ is coming at the cost of devastating marine life with plastic remnants now found on every beach in the world. Convenience is a state of mind and, as Amanda mentions, older generations lived without plastic and did just fine. We need to ask ourselves whether we want the ocean to suffer irreparable damage that eventually comes back to us through the food change (chemicals in seafood) or whether we want to change our consumptive habits to ensure a future that is habitable by our children and future generations to come. The choice is ours and perceived ‘convenience’ is a poor excuse.


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