Our Seas Our Future supports the New Zealand Government’s decision to phase out plastic bags across the country in the next 12 months.
Following the announcement on 10th August 2018, there will be a consultation period which will include options when the complete phase-out date should be and retailers that should be exempt.
“New Zealand at last steps up to announce phasing out single-use plastic bags. This is a victory for campaigners and our marine environment and should be celebrated, however we can consider this move as one step towards breaking our single-use plastic habit and we should continue to encourage industry and government to improve.” says Noel Jhinku, OSOF Trustee.
New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion single-use plastic bags every year, which end up in landfills, litter, and in our oceans. Worldwide, pollution is one of the biggest issues facing our oceans and coasts. An estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic entered the oceans in 2010 from people living within 50 kilometres of the coast in 192 countries.
OSOF have been long campaigning for marine plastic pollution to be addressed by government, with our first petition being initiated and presented to the select committee in 2014.
As advocates of protecting New Zealand’s coastal and marine ecosystems, OSOF have continually worked with our brands such as Plastic Free New Zealand (PFNZ) to raise awareness about the issue of marine plastic pollution. We are pleased to see that government is now finally responding to the pressure that has been placed on them by advocacy groups, and more than 65,000 individuals who signed a petition earlier this year which called for a regulatory ban on single-use plastic bags.
Although we recognise that the issue of marine plastic pollution is vast and complex, OSOF welcomes this news as the beginning of a shift towards recognising and mitigating the impacts of everyday single-use plastic on our environments.