Australian communities plan for International Plastic Bag Free Day
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 30 June, 2016 – With International Plastic Bag Free Day on Sunday 3 July, three iconic New South Wales beach destinations – Bondi, Manly and Byron Bay – are all calling on local businesses and residents to ban plastic bags.
Community leaders, retail outlets and local councils have joined forces to make Bondi, Manly and Byron Bay plastic bag free, culminating in a day of action this Sunday, 3 July.
Australians use over 10 million new plastic bags every day – that’s 3.92 billion plastic bags a year. Millions of these end up on our beaches, or floating through waterways and oceans where turtles, fish and birds mistake them for food.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Plastic bags have now been banned in four states: South Australia in 2009, the ACT and NT in 2011, and Tasmania in 2013. The NSW government has not yet made the move to ban the bag, so local communities are taking the matter into their own hands.
In addition to calling on the NSW government to ban plastic bags, Bondi, Manly and Byron are working with local residents and businesses to replace plastic with eco-friendly alternatives, and to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags.
Since the campaigns started, more than 100 businesses have signed up to go plastic bag free, and there is a groundswell of support growing on social media and among influential ambassadors such as top-10-ranked Australian surfer Laura Enever.
“As a professional surfer, I’ve witnessed places around the world that are very polluted, and seeing the lack of knowledge people have about protecting their oceans is incredibly disheartening but also motivating,” Enever says. “If we can all understand that doing little things can go a long way, we can make a massive difference together. Not using plastics bags is the most perfect example of this.”
The campaigns will hit a high note this weekend for International Plastic Bag Free Day. Byron Bay will kick off the festivities on Saturday 2 July with a beach cleanup on Main Beach. On Sunday 3 July in Bondi, there will be a film screening and public forum at Bondi Pavilion Theatre.
Blue Bondi Green, Transition Bondi, Surfrider, Living Ocean and Take 3 have teamed up with Waverley Council to present two films – locally made short ‘Plastic Soup’ by Michelle Stone and award-winning feature film ‘Plastic Paradise’ by Angela Sun – followed by a panel discussion with environmentalist Tim Silverwood, marine activist Fiona McCuaig, changemaker Lance Lieber, and filmmaker Michelle Stone.
Across the harbour on Sunday, the Plastic Free Manly team is hosting Clean Beats, a beach cleanup with live music from Portia Briana and DJ Ben Robb, a sausage sizzle fundraiser at the Manly Cove and free entry for kids to the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary plus other special offers from participating businesses at Manly Wharf.