Historic change to reduce plastic pollution in Queensland has now come into effect, with the Palaszczuk Government’s ban on single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags now in place across the state.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the ban would reduce the growing environmental challenge of plastic pollution and to protect the state’s precious environment and wildlife.
“Queenslanders use close to one billion of these plastic shopping bags per year and about 16 million of these end up in our precious environment,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Littered plastic shopping bags pollute the natural environment and waterways and can end up in our beautiful oceans.
“About 75 per cent of the marine debris collected along the Queensland coastline is made up of plastic materials.
“Disturbingly, around 90 per cent of all seabirds have ingested plastic debris as have 30 per cent of turtles.
“It’s incredibly sad to see how this plastic waste endangers our marine wildlife, which often mistake plastic items particularly plastic shopping bags for their natural food.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s ban on plastic bags will bring us in line with other states in Australia and will make a change for the better.”
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said that the plastic bag ban was one of the Palaszczuk Government’s initiatives to reduce plastic pollution.
“From today, retailers can no longer supply single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns,” Ms Enoch said.
“It’s been great to see shoppers and retailers prepare for the ban ahead of time and changing behaviour to help benefit our beautiful state.
“This small change will have a big impact on our environment and wildlife and I thank retailers and shoppers for playing their part in tackling plastic pollution.”
Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was also working towards another initiative to reduce plastic pollution - the Container Refund Scheme - which will come into effect in November.
“The scheme will not only reduce plastic pollution but will help to improve recycling across the state,” Ms Enoch said.
“We are also currently working with government, environmental groups, industry and the research community to develop a long-term plan to reduce the amount of plastic entering and in the environment.
“All of these actions are being taken with one goal in mind: A cleaner environment for all Queenslanders and the animals which we live alongside.”
Sea World Research & Rescue Foundation Director, Trevor Long said marine debris including plastic pollution was proving to be a major issue for the environment and the move to ban single-use plastic shopping bags is a great initiative.
“At Sea World, we see first-hand the effects of marine debris and plastics are having on marine wildlife with many injured birds, turtles and dolphins coming into our care with injuries due to human interaction such as fishing line and netting entanglements, swallowing plastic bags or being hooked,” Mr Long said.
For more information about Queensland’s plastic bag ban visit www.qld.gov.au/plasticbagban