The Liberal/National Government has rejected a 12,000 signature petition gathered by NSW school students calling for a ban on single use plastic bags.
The petition was debated in the NSW Legislative Assembly on Thursday after being delivered to the Parliament by Sophia Skarparis, a Year 10 school student from the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian’s, own electorate.
Sophia and her fellow students were in the public gallery to witness the debate and heard representatives from the Liberal/National Government once again rejecting the overwhelming public support for a ban on single use plastic bags.
NSW Greens Marine Spokesperson, Justin Field, said “The next generation is crying out for change when it comes to addressing plastic pollution but this Government is too stubborn to act.
“The fact that the Minister for Environment, Gabrielle Upton, didn’t turn up to the debate shows that the Government is not taking the issue of plastic waste seriously.
“The evidence is growing that the impact of plastic pollution is becoming far wider than injuring and killing marine animals. Plastic pollution has now entered the food chain and our water supply systems and microplastics are now being found in human tissues. We need to act now.
“It was good to see the Labor Party’s support for Sophia’s petition, but the community are ready to move beyond the plastic bags debate. We need a bold plan to remove all single use plastics and clean up plastic pollution in the environment.
“It was disgraceful that the Government refused to allow the Greens to contribute to the debate in parliament yesterday but we will continue to stand with the community calling for action on plastic pollution.
“The Greens have an ambitious, comprehensive plan to phase out petroleum-based single-use plastics by 2023 and make a real difference when it comes to getting plastic waste out of our marine environment.
“This week the European Union passed laws to ban a sweeping range of single use plastics but here in NSW we are still debating on whether to ban plastic bags. It’s just embarrassing.
“The Greens congratulate Sophia and all of the students and groups who have contributed to bringing this petition to the parliament. The message from the community on plastics bags is clear - let’s get on with it and ban the bag now so we can move on to addressing the wider plastic pollution issues.
Sign our petition for a plastic free NSW here.