Here is a series of e-mails going back and forth between Campbell Newman, Premier of the state of Queensland, Australia and myself.
I’ve provided his e-mail so please feel free to send him your thoughts.
16th July 2013
We teach an education program to primary school students across the world. I regularly visit primary schools and speak of my first-hand experience with the damage that plastic bags cause to our marine life. When I see their motivation to change their habits and those of their parents, I wonder why it is so hard for a government to make legislation to ban single use plastic bags. I’ve seen three students in a little country town take a petition to the local council and change the towns plastic bag and plastic water bottle legislation.
Quite simply put, your recent decision to not even look into a ban puts the great state of Queensland behind the times. You see so many great nations and counties/states around the world are banning plastic bags as they have seen the damage. Bangladesh banned plastic bags after they continued to cause deaths during floods when they blocked drains. Are our floods worse because of plastic bags. I’ve seen the debris in the nets of the Brisbane River, I’ve collected Turtles on the Great Barrier Reef that have died from plastic bags, in fact one had a bag form perfectly in its stomach. It starved to death as no food could enter it’s digestive system.
I’m pleading with you, on behalf of the youth of our great state, install legislation to ban single use plastic bags and make our state a leader. If you looked into the eye of a dying brides whale dying on Cairns beach 5 years ago, if you looked into the eye of a dead sea turtle, if you looked into the eyes of the youth of our state as I present the issue, you wouldn’t have a second though.
Grow a heart and be a leader.
We don’t need plastic bags. We don’t need the clean up costs. We don’t need the marine deaths.
We do need a strong leader. We do need change. We do need our GBR and the wildlife in it.
Are you the one for that or do we need to vote in a new leader, one who cares, one who can see the issue for what it is.
I have faith in you. Don’t take it for granted though.
20th August 2013
Thank you for your email about plastic bag use in Queensland.
The State Government does not intend to introduce legislation to ban supermarket plastic bags or to impose a compulsory levy on their use. While the Government acknowledge that the inappropriate disposal of non-biodegradable plastic bags can cause environmental issues, banning them is not necessarily the best solution and whatever action is taken must not introduce a new cost for Queensland consumers.
The Government will continue to consult with the community and interested parties on initiatives to reduce waste and to improve recycling rates. The impacts of plastic and plastic bags generally are currently being discussed as part of the development of the new industry-led waste strategy and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is currently working closely with retailers, local governments, and environment and community groups to better understand the issues and options that are available to us. It is anticipated that a draft waste strategy will be released for consultation later this year.
Again, thank you for raising this important matter with me.
The Premier <The.Premier@premiers.qld.gov.au>
Thank you for your feedback.
20th August 2013
I simply don’t agree with your policy and short-sightedness. If banning single use plastic bags was a bad idea then why have so many countries, counties and states done so.
Also can you please tell me how you justify grants of $100,000 to people like Eco Barge Services in the Whitsundays who spend their whole time cleaning up the mess.
Where you not taught in school that ‘prevention is better than a cure’
Can you also explain to the tourist industry why they are losing people as instead of seeing turtles nesting they are seeing dead turtles washed up on beaches. It’s not just turtles it includes dugongs and whales too.
You talk of inappropriate disposal. 50% of plastic bags that end up in the ocean come from the tip so can you please tell me the correct way to dispose of a non-biodegradable bag?
You talk of recycling yet for the cost of $32,000, you get a product worth $4,000 to sell. It is not economically viable to recycle plastic bags.
You talk of extra costs to consumers yet the grants you pay come from the consumer. Cardboard boxes that goods are delivered in can be used free of charge, just like the old days. People simply find other methods of getting their goods home. It has been successful in countless countries, counties/states around the world. Are you blind.
Recycling of plastic is driven by the plastics industry. They are trying to make it seem ‘Alright’ to buy plastic. It’s not.
Every piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists in some form. Unlike you and your government, it will last forever.