Hobsons Bay City Council is leading by example by adopting an awareness raising approach to plastic bag reduction and has announced plans to review the ‘Waste and Litter Management Plan’ as early as 2017.
The council is working with local communities to implement ‘Say No To Plastic Bags’, a community driven plastic bag reduction initiative.
The move comes after Plastic Bag Free Victoria, an organisation focused on discontinuing the free distribution of plastic bags, asked the council to adopt a policy banning the distribution of single use plastic at events held on council land.
Cr Colleen Gates, of the Wetlands Ward, commented that a new policy will not be put into place, as it is challenging for council to draw up policies for “every single different waste type,” ranging from cigarette butts to single use plastic. Cr Gates said that the council wants “a policy at a high level that talks about waste reduction as a whole”.
“It’s not really fair for us to be expecting our community to embark on reducing or eliminating single use plastics if the Council doesn’t lead by example”, Cr Gates added, meaning the council will soon be implementing changes internally.
The move is thought to minimise the loss of marine life, considering plastics make up approximately 60 per cent of marine debris, with an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and turtles killed by plastic litter every year through entanglement and ingestion.
Cr Angela Altair, representing the Strand Ward, is specifically fond of rectifying the issue.
“We are drowning in a sea of single use plastic,” she said of the longstanding issue, adding that the people of Hobsons Bay are “taking matters into their own hands” through their own community events.
Council is currently awaiting an outcome of the Senate Inquiry, the national roundtable discussion on plastic bags and the Draft Bill and will then work collectively to determine the way best forward for the community.