At Council's meeting on May 9th, 2017 Councillor Anthony Mayne moved a motion that:
1. Write to the New South Wales and Australian Government advocating for a ban on
single-use plastic bags.
2. Write to Bega Valley Shire Council, Shoalhaven City Council and Canberra Regional Joint
Organisation and encourage them to advocate for a ban on single use plastic bags.
3.Continue to assist and educate local businesses and the community to reduce the use of
disposable plastic items.
4. Formalise a policy to ensure that all Council activities and events on Council land seek to
eliminate the use of disposable plastic items.
5. Promote the positive steps being taken in the community to reduce the use of single use
plastic bags. Councillor Mayne, in his address to his fellow Councillors said that this followed on from eliminating helium filled balloons on Council land and at Council events. "We have to do what we can to help our Nature Coast" and that "Council needs to work constructively with the community to eliminate plastic bags". In his report tabled to support the motion Councillor Mayne wrote: Single use plastic bags remain highly prolific in NSW and can cause significant damage to the environment. The Eurobodalla community and Council have been very proactive in taking steps to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags. Some towns and businesses in Eurobodalla have shown great leadership in going plastic bag free. Council has helped to educate and advocate for action on reducing the use of disposable plastic bags. To eliminate the problems caused by single use plastic bags the most simple and effective solution would be a NSW or Australian wide ban. Council should continue to support efforts to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags and advocate strongly for a NSW or Australian wide ban on single use plastic bags. Single use plastic bags are lightweight, singlet style, disposable plastic bags provided by retail outlets. Over four billion single use plastic bags are used in Australia each year; that is ten million per day, or 20,000 tonnes. Many single use plastic bags are disposed of responsibly where they contribute to taking up valuable landfill space. However, some plastic bags end up in the environment where they can cause great harm to bird life and marine life.Plastic bags can become serial killers. Once a bag is ingested, the animal dies and decomposes, releasing the bag back into the environment to kill again.Around the world, about eight million tonnes of rubbish makes its way into the world’s oceans. An estimated 80% of this is plastic, and 10% is plastic bags. Plastic is responsible for killing one million sea birds and over 100,000 sea mammals each year. Turtles, whales and sea birds mistake plastic bags for food or get entangled in them, resulting in painful injuriesor even death.When plastics eventually break down into smaller and smaller fragments they can release toxins and also absorb chemicals from the sea water such as pesticides and detergents on their surface, making them highly toxic particles. It is estimated that it costs governments,businesses and community groups in Australia over $4million per annum to clean up littered plasticshopping bags. A recent clean up at Budd Island in Batemans Bay found over 100 single use plastic bags within a 100m stretchof foreshore. What is being done about it? Tasmania, the Northern Territory, ACT and South Australia have already introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags which has been very successful in reducing the use of plastic bags.In Eurobodalla, Council and the community have been proactive in trying to minimise the use of single use plastic bags. Some of these activities include: - Mogo and Tilba have banned single use plastic bags in their towns. - Council encourages the community to participate in annual events like Plastic Free July. - Council presents to community groups on the impacts on single use plastics on our waterways. - The Malua Bay IGA introduced a small charge for the use of single use plastic bags. This resulted in a marked reduction in plastic bag use at this business and raised funds for local community groups. - Council helped Broulee Public School develop a ‘veggie bag’ program which uses upcycled cloth bags for vegetable shopping in 2015 and 2016. - SAGE is currently working with Council to introduce a veggie bag program for the Moruya Farmers Market.The SAGE market aims to be plastic bag free by the end of 2017. - In February 2016 Council wrote to the NSW Government advocating for a ban on single use plastic bags. - Narooma Woolworths initiated a ‘say no to plastic bags’ campaign for a week in 2016. The campaign slogan was printed on staff T-shirts, and free reusable bags were given to customers. - Council has been working with volunteers on a Eurobodalla ‘Boomerang Bags’ project that will see reusable bags distributed and reused throughout the region. - Many businesses, from Moruya Books, Aldi, to Narooma Mitre 10, have already voluntarily introduced their own ban on plastic bags. - The Eurobodalla Marine Debris Working Group includes representatives from Council, Batemans Bay Marine Parks, the Nature Coast Marine Group, local fishermen, oyster growers, surfers, schools, Landcare and scuba divers. The group and community volunteers continue to remove and monitor plastic bag pollution of our waterways. Councillor Mayne concludes in his report: "Single use plastic bags remain highly prolific in NSW and can cause significant damage to the environment. Council should continue to support efforts to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags in its own operations and in the community. A state wide or national ban on single use plastic bags would be the most effective way to address this issue and Council should advocate strongly for a NSW or Australian wide ban." Clr Mayne wants to address the problems we have with plastics right across the Eurobodalla. Right from the start he has made it very clear that he would like to do whatever is possible to remove plastics from the shoreline and from the tip face. Clr Mayne is quite clear that this is not simply an environmental issue. He recognises that Council has at its core the Three R's of Rates, Roads and Rubbish and as such any reduction of rubbish, especially plastics, from the tip face or via our recycling efforts makes good business sense for ratepayers. Removing plastic waste from environmental litter from parks, reserves and roadsides also reduces costs and presents the image that residents and visitors want to see when they venture around the shire. In the next step Clr Mayne wants to consult with the Council and his fellow Councillors to determine what might be possible under policies and initiatives. He will then begin the task of seeking the views of shire retailers, big and small, and the wider community to beginning the process of understanding what is achievable to lessen the impact of plastic in our shire. He asks " What do you think? As a community what can we do together to reduce plastics, protect our marine and bird life, keep our beaches clean for us & and our visitors?" You can pass your thoughts on to Clr Mayne via his mail or email address Councillor Anthony Mayne (Deputy Mayor) PO Box 99 Moruya NSW 2537 or email@example.com