Last Friday 28/07, state and territory environment ministers met in Melbourne. Plastic pollution was on the agenda - and there was a great deal of hope that NSW and Victoria would finally join the movement to ban single-use plastic bags.
Australia is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world - white sand, long stretches of coastline and breathtaking backdrops. But when you're daydreaming of the Great Ocean Road or Bondi Beach, do you include floating plastic debris in your picture-perfect visions?
Good news! Plastic bans across the world have been hitting the headlines lately. From the US to India and Morocco, governing bodies are taking control of the plastic pollution problem, bringing in either complete bans on plastic, or bans on specific forms like polystyrene.
On a recent trip to the Sunshine coast, my 10 year old son asked if we could go to the Aquarium.
I’m not usually a party pooper but my first thought was not excitement but trepidation and then concern for the animals living in the facility.
Plastic is ubiquitous. It’s in our clothing, our shoes, our phone, our furniture. We store food in it, we eat and drink from it, we sit on it, we brush our teeth with it. It comes in all colours, shapes and sizes. The reason plastic is ever-present? It’s cheap, it’s convenient, and it lasts. But plastic comes at a cost: plastic pollution.
I’ve spent a significant portion of the last 6 years forcing turtle poop through a sieve. Seriously. As a sea turtle researcher focused on understanding the what, why, and where of turtles eating harmful plastics, I’ve had to cut open hundreds of sea turtles stranded dead on beaches in Moreton Bay and the Queensland coast to see what is in their digestive system.
‘I’ll just chuck it in my backpack’.
That’s what I said to the cashier in Albert Heijn, the biggest Dutch supermarket on the streets of Amsterdam.
She had tried to charge me .50€ cents for a plastic bag so that I could carry my bunch of bananas 100m down the road. It was more than the bananas themselves had cost.
Turtles are awesome. Seriously, they’re living dinosaurs that have survived against all odds to roam the oceans for more than 100 million years. They live about as long as elephants, and rock their wrinkles in the same way.