I was in the North of Adelaide (South Australia’s capital) a couple of days ago and along Main North Road, for literally miles and miles, the roadsides were very heavily peppered with plastic bag trash.
I’ve never seen anything quite like this in our city and I was totally disgusted by the sight – not only in relation to the perpetrators, but the fact that this junk had obviously built up over a period of time. It’s situations like this that really make me question how our (exorbitant) taxes are being spent.
Main North Road is a major route into our city and aside from the environmental impact, I’d hate to think what visitors would think of us upon seeing this.
There’s nothing that quite exemplifies the death of the Australia I remember as a child as seeing an old eucalyptus tree festooned in plastic bag trash.
Given a 2004 study by Roy Morgan found that 93% of Australians were concerned about the impact that plastic bags have on the environment; all I can say is that 7% of us seem to be hell bent on destroying the landscape – and with many of the 93% who say they do care doing little about it.
There’s houses most of the way up and down the long section of road affected – it’s really not a huge task for neighborhoods to form groups to clear up this junk if local government is ignoring the problem. We need to stop relying on government so heavily to address issues we can action ourselves, even if it’s only as a stopgap measure.
But thankfully, all is not lost. While trying to find a way to take action on this issue, I discovered that The South Australian Government is working in conjunction with the Federal government on a phase-out of single use plastic shopping bags – with a goal of banning the bags from 1 January 2009.
If you’re looking at trying to have bags banned in your area, this Plastic Bag Phase Out Task Force report (PDF) is well worth presenting to your local authorities. It contains market research and provides a suggested road map for moving towards plastic shopping bag free commerce.
If you’re a small business owner that uses single use plastic bags and it does concern you, take a peek at Say No To Plastic Bags; it’s a site targeted towards business. There are some big companies in Australia, such as Bunnings Warehouse, who stopped providing bags years ago and it certainly doesn’t seem to have done their business any harm.