By Chelsea Rice
A leading environmental group has slammed a state government move to block a ban on plastic shopping bags as short-sighted and out of step with community sentiment.
The City of Fremantle’s proposed ban has been put on hold after Liberal MLC Peter Katsambanis tabled a notice of motion in state parliament to disallow the ban.
Clean-up Australia estimates some 50 million single-use plastic bags enter the Australian litter stream every year.
Clean-up Australia’s CEO, Terrie-Ann Johnson, says the proposed ban would be a step in the right direction and would be supported by most people.
“The public is now very aware of the problems caused by these bags in the rubbish stream, the State Government should be encouraging local governments to embrace waste management reform not knocking it back,” Ms Johnson says.
“There is nothing enshrined in law that states a retailer must give someone a plastic bag, that’s by choice, it has just become custom. The City of Fremantle has every right to ban bags.
“We have seen very high support for bans on plastic bags across Australia. In QLD and NSW there is a huge movement that has seen both state governments move the issues to their agendas.”
The City of Fremantle ban would prevent businesses in the city supplying customers with single–use, non–biodegradable plastic bags.
Mr Katsambanis said he was opposed to the ban in Fremantle because he believed it had to be implemented at a statewide level to have any real impact.
In the past few years, similar laws have been successfully introduced in South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT and Tasmania, while China has recently brought in a national ban on single-use plastic bags.
Mr Katsmanbanis also claimed that the ban in South Australia had resulted in an increase in sales of bin liners, minimising the positive effects of the ban.
Fremantle resident Luke Sizer says he would support a ban and he believes most of his fellow residents would.
“Most of my neighbours are very environmentally aware and would be happy with any moves by the city to reduce litter,” Mr Sizer says.
“These types of bans also have the effect of increasing awareness of environmental problems and I believe they get people thinking about other ways they can reduce the amount of litter they create.”