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MEDIA RELEASE: WA PLASTIC BAG BAN IS FANTASTIC NEWS FOR OUR OCEANS

Tue 12 September 2017

The Western Australian Government’s announcement that single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned from mid 2018 is welcome news for marine life says the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

James Cordwell, AMCS Marine Campaigner said:

“AMCS welcomes the announcement by Premier Mark McGowan and Environment Minister Stephen Dawson today that WA will ban single-use plastic by 1 July 2018. This is a hugely significant step towards reducing marine plastic pollution and the severe impacts it has on our unique ocean life.”

“Plastic pollution travels easily from land to sea. It blows in from bins and garbage dumps, or flows through stormwater drains into our waterways - and eventually the sea. Once in the ocean plastics slowly break down into smaller and smaller pieces, which are eaten by animals at the bottom of our food chain.

“A single-use plastic bag is used on for just 12 minutes on average, Yet that same bag can take up to 1,000 years to break down. Larger pieces of plastic are often mistaken for food by marine life such as the threatened green turtle or bottlenose dolphin. These animals can become entangled or strangled by plastic waste, choke or even starve - as consumed plastic obstructs their stomachs, meaning their less room for actual food.

“The banning of bags, along with the forthcoming implementation of a Container Deposit Scheme, are two encouraging steps for WA. These are crucial moves to put an end to an era of these highly damaging items from impacting on our marine environment.

“You can have a fantastic system, but if the community isn’t adequately informed on how it works and can participate, it won’t work. We look forward to working with the Western Australian government to ensure a world’s best practice system is implemented with a well informed and participatory Western Australian public. 

“With this announcement, WA will join South Australia, ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania which already have similar bans in place, with QLD to follow in 2018 too. We encourage Victoria and NSW to join this movement together in cutting plastic pollution.” said Cordwell.

For further information, images and interviews please contact:

Gemma Freeman, AMCS Media and Communications - 0412 505 405 - gemmfreeman@amcs.org.au 

James Cordwell, AMCS Marine Campaigner - 0447 721 882 - jamescordwell@amcs.org.au 

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