Media Release: Plastic impacts marine life

In Parliament | 18.02.16

Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe, met with volunteers at Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) to draw attention to the need for the Government to get behind Labor’s ban on plastic bags. 

Every year tonnes of plastics are removed from waterways across the state, comprised mostly of plastic bags and plastic drinking containers. 

ASR invited Ms Sharpe to their Sea Turtle Hospital to see the impact plastic is having on our marine wildlife. More than one third of the turtles seen by ASR have ingested plastic. 

In another recent study conducted by ASR, 88% of the Short-tailed Sheatwaters (Mutton Birds) examined had plastic in their digestive tract.

Labor has announced that it will introduce a private member’s bill this year to ban the use of single use plastic bags.

Labor has also called on the Government to move quickly on a container deposit scheme.

Labor would like to see a cash-for-containers scheme modelled on the successful South Australian system which has been operating for some time.

Together, these actions will reduce waste, landfill and help minimise other negative environmental impacts of plastic bags, including to marine life.

 Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe MLC: 

“Across the country, hundreds of thousands of plastic containers and single use bags end up in waterways like this."

“I am calling on the Government to back Labor’s plastic bag ban and get on with implementing a container deposit scheme as soon as possible." 

“Plastic bag bans have worked in the ACT and South Australia. Cash for containers has also worked in South Australia." 

“This is about bringing NSW in line with other states and territories and playing a leading in conservation – particularly on the east coast of Australia.”

Key Facts

  • More than 70% of the rubbish entering our oceans is plastic. Once in the ocean, plastic begins to break down. It is estimated that over 100 thousand pieces of plastic float in every square kilometre of ocean. Plastic kills up to 1 million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals and countless fish each year.