A team of environmentalists is visiting businesses and councils in the northern rivers this week promoting an end to the use of plastic bags.
The visits are part of a lobbying effort by the Boomerang Alliance, which is aimed at convincing environmental ministers in NSW, Queensland and Victoria to ban single use plastic bags.
Boomerang Alliance director Jeff Angel said any suggestions that businesses were opposed to banning plastic bags was wrong.
‘Ballina MP Tamara Smith and the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of over 100 local businesses around Byron Bay – a staggering 94 per cent of local businesses were prepared to ban plastic bags – the governments should join them,’ Mr Angel said.
Cleanup Australia chairman Ian Kieran said environment ministers will be meeting in Sydney on 25 November.
‘Everyone knows we have a problem. Single-use plastic bags are a waste of resources and when littered are deadly to wildlife,’ Mr Kiernan said.
‘Plastic doesn’t go away, it only breaks up into smaller pieces contaminating the marine environment with dangerous microplastics and the food chain, ending up on our dinner plates.
‘SA, NT, Tasmania and ACT have plastic bag bans and despite all states committing to a ban in 2005, NSW, Qld and Vic have done nothing.
Mr Kiernan said nearly 7 per cent of plastic rubbish reported by Clean Up volunteers is single use lightweight plastic bags.
‘The most likely source of these bags is impulse purchasing or when contents are consumed in transit. Many are left behind on benches, under seats, jammed into crevices or simply dropped. Even when binned they too easily blow away.
‘As we approach the 2017 national Clean Up campaign it’s timely for states lagging behind the ACT, NT, SA and TAS to join forces to make sure single use items such as retail bags don’t end up on our streets and beaches, in our parks, bushland and waterways.’