‘Ban the Bag’ campaign reaches parliament
The Ban the Bag NZ campaign is gaining traction with the petition reaching parliament yesterday on the back of a hīkoi.
65,000 signatures have been garnered and organiser says banning plastic bags is the first step to ridding the sea of plastic pollution.
The march reached its destination on the steps of parliament where marchers presented the petition to Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.
“Well, it shows that New Zealanders really care about single-use plastic bags. There was a petition in 2014 signed by 16,000 people. This one has 65,000 people signing it. Single-use plastic bags contribute less than 1% of landfill waste but it's the strong public demand for action and the fact that they can end up in the oceans and choke marine wildlife. So they're a convenience and I guess the issue is whether to ban them or not or whether to use leather so those are probably the key options.”
According to organiser Tina Ngata, research gathered suggests Wellington has some of the worst plastic pollutions of the world.
“Here in Wellington, the highest densest level of plastic pallet pollution that our international researchers have seen anywhere all around the world - more than LA, more than other places all around the world. That was quite a shock. Probably estimated levels at more than about 200,000 plastic pallets just on Oriental Beach.”
Indigenous rights activist Ngata says that while we should be worried about the effects of plastic on marine life, she says we should also be worried about ourselves.
“These plastic pallets and the types of carcinogens that are found in them are linked to digestive cancers, colon cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer. There are hormone disrupters present in these products and in these chemicals that relate to infertility and all of these are issues that hit particularly our Māori and Pacific Island communities really hard and we're big seafood eaters.”
The petition will be tabled, as is parliament's due process, but those fighting for the cause say their fight will continue.