Let’s begin a phase-out of common single-use plastics on the Gold Coast!

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The amount of plastic litter, especially single-use plastic such as straws, coffee cups, cutlery and bottles, constantly seen around the Gold Coast and its waterways is deeply concerning. Globally, the problem of plastic pollution is so out of control that the United Nations estimates by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish! If communities such as the Gold Coast don’t start taking action now, this extremely bleak forecast will likely become reality for future generations.

In years to come, how will history look back on our actions and throwaway culture? No doubt our great grandchildren will shake their heads in dismay and ask “What the hell were they thinking?”

At first glance, you may think the problem isn’t that bad, but take a closer look on your next walk, ride or drive around the Gold Coast and you will likely struggle to make the trip without seeing some kind of single-use plastic discarded along a road, footpath, park or waterway. It’s almost as if litter has become part of the natural landscape and people have just accepted it as such. It does not have to be this way!

Even one discarded plastic bottle, straw or coffee cup is one too many. And don’t forget, the vast majority of plastic pollution on the Coast is sadly hidden from view as it is quickly wind-blown or washed (from rainfall) into gutters and waterways where the tide flushes it into the beautiful Pacific. Imagine how much rubbish we would actually see in our waterways if the weather and tides didn’t do our dirty work for us!

Locals, myself included, have become so fed-up with constantly seeing discarded single-use plastics around the Gold Coast that they have started picking it up in a futile attempt to stop the problem and feel slightly less hopeless about what is happening to our once pristine waterways. However, these small individual acts are never going to hold back the huge tide of plastic waste being thoughtlessly tossed out by Gold Coasters and tourists at an ever increasing rate.

The great news is we already know one important solution to this problem – simply refuse items unnecessarily packaged in plastic. We also have the “technology” to make significant reductions in our consumption of plastic while still enjoying our favourite coffee, take away Thai or green smoothie. With the arrival of items like Keep Cups and reusable metal straws, containers and water bottles, there is no justifiable reason to continue relying on throwaway plastic objects that are used for approximately 15 minutes or less then tossed in the gutter or put into landfill for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  As the Gold Coast is a "water city" renowned for its enviable coastal lifestyle and beaches, it simply must do more to be a part of the solution to the plastic crisis. After all, it's in the Coast's best interest.

Currently, very little appears to be happening on a local council level, apart from council bins and the occasional sign, to address this worsening problem that will negatively impact our community and environment for many generations to come. There are also many people who really value and care about the environment, but are too used to the convenience of throwaway plastic packaging and need a little nudge to change their habits. Remember how easy it was in the end to start bringing your own reusable shopping bags when Queensland introduced a state wide plastic bag ban? It just takes a slight change in habit.

The Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) placing a ban on single-use plastics, including bottles, straws, cups and cutlery, is a very easy way to address this environmental crisis and play our part.

Canada is working towards banning single-use plastics nationwide as early as 2021 and the South Australian Government is introducing legislation to Parliament next year that will see a range of single-use plastic items banned. There is simply no reason why we can’t do the same thing on the Gold Coast.

By taking a tough and well-needed stance against unnecessary plastic waste, the Gold Coast will be seen as a progressive location that takes looking after its natural assets seriously. Apart from encouraging more tourists to visit the area and boosting the Coast’s environmental credentials, the GCCC will save considerable amounts of money on waste collection and litter maintenance in public spaces. Think about how many council bins are filled by throwaway coffee cups alone in a single day. Think about how much it costs the GCCC to deal with needless single-use plastic waste annually. The amount would be staggering.

Please show Mayor Tom Tate how much people care about this issue and help make the Gold Coast a much more sustainable city by signing this petition today!