Seventy-seven per cent of Australians want single-use plastics to be banned now

A seabird holds plastic in its beak on a beach (Image Credit: Tim Mossholder / Unsplash).

SEVENTY-seven per cent of Australians want single-use plastics to be banned as soon as possible.

Over 20,000 people across 28 countries, including Australia, were surveyed for the Plastic Free Foundation on peoples’ thoughts on the global plastic pollution crisis.

WWF Australia has partnered with the foundation to analyse the survey results. Plastic Free Foundation’s mission is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling.

It is the first comprehensive survey on the need for a plastic pollution treaty that could set global standards for reducing plastic production, consumption and pollution, and the ultimate goal of ending plastic pollution.

“We know people are extremely concerned about the growing plastic pollution crisis,” Ms Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, Founder and Executive Director, Plastic Free Foundation, said.

“Last year, 3.3 million Australians took part in Plastic Free July, but individual action is not enough.

“We need an ambitious mandate and targets that reframe our relationship with plastics so that people’s health and the environment are not at risk from plastic pollution.”

The survey also highlights high-level public support for phasing out problematic plastics.

Seventy-seven per cent of Australians want single-use plastics to be banned as soon as possible.

Eighty-two per cent also declare they want to buy products that use as little plastic packaging as possible.

Australians also think a plastic pollution treaty is “important”, with one third saying it’s “essential”.

The survey also found 86 per cent of Australians think manufacturers and retailers should be made responsible for reducing, reusing and recycling plastic packaging.

“This survey is a clear call by Australians, and people from all corners of the world want their governments to act now,” Ms Prince-Ruiz added.

The information comes before the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, on 28 February – 2 March, when Australia and 192 other Member States will consider whether to start negotiations on a plastic pollution treaty.

A recent WWF-commissioned review found that plastic has infiltrated all parts of the world’s oceans, with at least 2,144 species suffering from plastic pollution in their habitat.

The review also notes that without action, ocean plastic pollution will quadruple by 2050.

Pressure has been mounting on governments for a legally binding treaty to address this plastic pollution crisis.

More than 2.2 million people have signed a WWF petition, while over 120 companies worldwide, and more than 1000 civil society organisations, have also backed calls for a treaty.

The Australian Government supports efforts to develop a binding global agreement to combat plastic pollution but has not yet co-sponsored a draft resolution that would formally start the treaty development process.

WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager, Ms Kate Noble, calls on the Australian Government to co-sponsor a draft resolution at the UN Environment Assembly and play a proactive role in developing a legally-binding global treaty.

“Australians have made their views clear,” Ms Noble said

“The onus is now on our Government to help deliver a treaty with teeth that puts us on a pathway to ending plastic pollution by 2030. We cannot afford to settle for anything less.

“Every year, Australia lets 130,000 tonnes of plastic flow into our oceans, which goes on to kill marine mammals, birds and other creatures indiscriminately.

“We know how to stop plastic pollution, and we know the cost of inaction will come at the expense of our beautiful beaches and marine wildlife,” Ms Noble added.

“There is no excuse for delaying a global treaty to tackle this crisis.”

The global plastics survey was conducted by Ipsos, a global leader in market research, delivering reliable information to understand society better.

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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