The problems caused by plastic bags to the environment and to the amenity of our open spaces are well known, and have been for decades. It’s therefore disappointing that most of Australia has been so slow to act on this – the ultimate in low hanging fruit when it comes to environmental issues.
While the power to ban or restrict plastic bags rests with the state and federal governments both have repeatedly failed to do anything about the issue. Earlier this year I therefore put this motion to Council to get us moving with some creative solutions that we could use to reduce plastic bag consumption within our own field of influence.
The motion was sadly amended by other Councillors to remove most of it’s substantive components, turning it into little more than a plea to other levels of government to take action while doing little ourselves. While this was disappointing I accepted it as it was clear my motion was not going to pass in it’s original form.
This week a response from the federal government arrived and was also quite disappointing. I take particular issue with the statement that banning plastic bags would “entail significant costs to the Australian economy”. South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT have all banned plastic bags in recent years without causing economic damage, as have a number of overseas jurisdictions.
It beggars belief that there is so much reluctance to take action on such a clear cut issue, but sadly it seems once again that the Greens are the only ones prepared to take the sensible path.
PS – in case you needed anymore reason to turn against plastic bags, check out this video of a dolphin trying to free itself from a bag that it’s become trapped in