Opinion

OPINION: How many dead turtles will it take, Bundy?

Turtles attract thousands of tourists to our region every year, but a stray plastic bag can leave them dead.
Turtles attract thousands of tourists to our region every year, but a stray plastic bag can leave them dead.

FULL disclosure: I am a mean, green environmental nerd. When I was nine my best friend and I started a club at school - The Environment Club.

We sent out a newsletter alerting everyone to important issues like littering and pollution.

Consider this an update, and a confession, too. You see, I'm a bit of a hypocrite.

I frequently forget my calico bags at the shops.

When I'm nearly late for work, I drive instead of riding my bike.

And sometimes, I forget my KeepCup when I go for my morning coffee.

In a place like Bundy, with natural beauty all around us and an economy that totally relies on it - fertile red dirt; those tourist magnet turtles - we can all be better at looking after the planet.

Yet the Burnett is choked with industrial sediment and shopping trolleys clog the creeks around town.

Last week the whole country was talking about an ABC report on takeaway coffee cups, and the plastic sleeve inside the cup that doesn't break down.

And you thought it was just a harmless piece of cardboard.

Or perhaps you don't think at all about the stuff you buy?

A lot of us don't - we've got bills to pay and mouths to feed, and we all have moments when we're short on time and the most convenient option wins.

But when a turtle swallows a plastic bag - which they can easily mistake for a jellyfish - it's not so convenient for them.

"You can usually tell, because they float," Mon Repos volunteer Gary Brandon said sadly when I first visited Nielson Park. He wasn't talking about bags - he was describing dead turtles.

Agnes Water has just set an incredible example by banning plastic bags. It's simple, it's effective, and the benefits are obvious.

Australians use 3.9 billion of them every year, and more than 50 million end up as litter.

How many dead turtles will convince Bundy to do the same?

Topics:  agnes water environment plastic bag ban plastic bags pollution turtles waste



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