Council wants to ban plastic bags

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Port Phillip Council is urging the Victorian Government to “ban the bag” to help protect wildlife and the environment from the millions of plastic shopping bags tossed away each year. 

At a council meeting last month, it voted to support this Clean up Australia campaign that calls on Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australian to pass legislation banning the distribution of single-use plastic bags. 

South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and ACT have already banned lightweight plastic bags and Queensland will follow their example next year. 

Mayor Bernadene Voss said Port Phillip Council recently used its event permitting powers to stop balloons being part of large corporate events in the City and is informing organisers of smaller events at Council venues about safer ways of celebrating, such as blowing bubbles. 

“We took this action because we are seriously concerned about the harm caused to our vulnerable wildlife, foreshore, parks and waterways from plastic debris,” Cr Voss said. 

“The Victorian Government estimates Australians use 7-8 billion plastic bags a year and millions of these end up in landfills, our waterways and oceans or in the stomachs of defenceless seabirds and turtles,” Cr Voss said. 

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the authority to stop plastic bags being provided by outlets such as supermarkets. This is why we are urging the Victorian Government to step up.” 

Councillor Tim Baxter, who authored the notice of motion passed by council, said the Port Phillip community regularly raised plastic pollution as a major issue. 

“Plastic, including bags, has a huge impact on our bayside City’s marine life and environment,” Cr Baxter said. 

“We’re lucky in Port Phillip to have an amazing, engaged community, with groups such as Beach Patrol and the EcoCentre not only cleaning our beaches and waterways, but gathering data on the amount and types of plastics being found. 

“We want the Victorian Government to help the clean-up efforts of our community – and others across the state – by passing legislation to slash the State’s massive plastic bag use. 

“Doing this will go a long way to reducing Victoria’s share of the billions of plastic bags used just once and then discarded, almost none of which are recycled,” he said.

As well as acting as a major contributor to litter, plastic bags require large amounts of raw materials to manufacture and typically take hundreds of years to break down. 

 

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