Blue Mountains push for ban on plastic bag

Time for a ban: Nina Gallo and Cr Romola Hollywood present Trish Doyle, MP,  with signatures on the Ban the Bag Blue Mountains petition at Ms Doyle’s electorate office in Springwood.
Time for a ban: Nina Gallo and Cr Romola Hollywood present Trish Doyle, MP, with signatures on the Ban the Bag Blue Mountains petition at Ms Doyle’s electorate office in Springwood.

Member for Blue Mountains Trish Doyle met with Nina Gallo from ‘Ban the Bag Blue Mountains’ and Blue Mountains councillor Romola Hollywood in Springwood recently to receive a petition of more than 500 signatures calling on the state government to ban single-use plastic bags in New South Wales.

“Living in a world-heritage wilderness, a lot of Blue Mountains locals feel very connected to the natural environment,” Ms Gallo said.

“Out in the bush we see the effects of disposable plastics first hand. I think a lot of people feel impotent in the current political climate.  They care about issues but don't know how to create change. We were hoping to empower people by giving them an opportunity to unite and have their voices heard.”

The petition comes hot on the heels of the Victorian Labor government’s recent announcement that they will ban single-use plastic bags south of the border.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on the other hand has stated publicly that she wishes to allow retailers to make their own decision about whether to continue issuing plastic bags at the checkouts.

A number of community activists have been calling on Blue Mountains Council to ban plastic bags. However, a recent report to council outlined that local governments do not have the jurisdictional power to ban single-use plastic bags in one area or another.

“Action on banning these plastic bags needs to come from the state government," said Cr Romola Hollywood.

“To demonstrate my support for the Ban the Bag Campaign, I was very happy to help gather signatures for this petition and arrange for them to be presented to Trish Doyle,” she added.

The NSW Labor Opposition has repeatedly called upon the Liberals to support the Private Members Bill in the name of Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe MLC that would ban single-use plastic bags in the state.

“I welcome the petition,” Ms Doyle said. “Labor wants to get this Bill to ban plastic bags passed and we want to put an end to the plastic pollution that is choking our bushland and our waterways. All that it requires is some cooperation and common-sense from the NSW Liberal government which is now well overdue.”

Ms Gallo started the campaign in June and within a month a Facebook page promoting the ban had received 400 likes.

“A friend and I started the page to help Blue Mountains residents launch coordinated action against single use plastic bags. So many people want to see a ban on plastic bags but feel unsure of how to promote meaningful change,” Ms Gallo said.