Discourage the use of Single Use Plastic Bags

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Plastic bags are cheap to produce but expensive to clean from the environment, we are now at the point where hundreds of thousands of animals and their habitats including our own are getting infected with plastic. Marine life is the most horrific, where fish are getting entangled with bags and attempting to digest as bags in water mimic the appearance of other sea water animals like the jelly fish. This is the expense that money won't fix, we must be the change we want to see. It starts with the people. If you help impose a levy on all single use plastic bags, our consumption will go down. Hundreds of countries across the globe as above have shown promising results. 

Hundreds of countries across the globe as above have shown promising results. Ireland introduced a €0.15 tax in March 2002. They levied on consumers at the point of sale, this led to 90% of consumers using long-life bags within a year. The tax was increased to €0.22 in 2007. The revenue is put into an Environment Fund. 

- In Washington, the District of Columbia imposed a 5 cent tax on all plastic bags. In 5 years the revenue was over NZD $13.5 million dollars. It's also important to note that the population District of Columbia is only a fraction of New Zealand's. Annually DC has been raising nearly 2 million USD from the plastic bag taxes. 

- Ireland introduced a €0.15 tax in March 2002. They levied on consumers at the point of sale, this led to 90% of consumers using long-life bags within a year. The tax was increased to €0.22 in 2007. The revenue is put into an Environment Fund. 

- In Wales, since 1 October 2011, there has been a minimum charge of 5p on all plastic bags (including paper bags). The charge was introduced to dramatically reduce the number of carrier bags used in Wales. The charge affects all retailers in Wales. By July 2012, evidence showed the number of plastic bags given away by shops had fallen by up to 96%.

- Scotland applied a national 5p charge on all bags used in store or online. Within the first year, retailers showed that single-use carrier bag usage had fallen by more than 80% since the charge was introduced on 20 October 2014. Scotland’s last reported annual consumer usage figures released by the BBC prior to the charge coming into effect was approx 750 million bags used per year.

We have been taking this beautiful piece of land that we've named New Zealand for granted for 200 hundred years, it's time we recognise our negative impacts on our environment. This is going to be the home for generations of people, our wildlife, we need to preserve our home.

We want the New Zealand Government to impose a 15c tax placed on all plastic bags sold. For this levy to be effective, we must act on this issue - instead of simply talking about it.

- Tessa Wink, Serah Sali and Ailie McDonald. Whanganui High School



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