Magnetic Island North Queensland
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September 4th 2009
Tourists surprised by bag ‘backwardness’

Cr Vern Veitch with petition and Judy Chapman Tourists from South Australia, Tasmania and Europe, were surprised at how ‘backward’ Magnetic Island is in relation to plastic bag use, according to organizers of a new petition calling for the banning of plastic ‘check-out’ bags on the Island.

“They are amazed to find plastic bags being offered on the Island” said Wendy Tubman, president of Magnetic Island Nature Care Association (MINCA), which organized the petition as a follow-up to the petition earlier presented to TCC by the MI school children.

Wendy Tubman encountered some of the visitors at the Horseshoe Bay markets recently, "There were couples from South Australia and Austria and from Coles Bay Coles Bay in Tasmania where the community banned plastic bags in 2003. They were very surprised to find plastic bags being used. Some going as far as to describe the situation as 'backward'".

With limited distribution, the ‘adults’ petition gathered 616 signatures. It was yesterday handed to TCC Councillor Vern Veitch by, MINCA member, Judy Chapman, who pointed out the enormous support for the request. “Even coming over from the Island on the ferry this morning we asked all but one passenger if they would like to sign. Of the 48 asked, 46 signed” she said.

“We ran out of time to collect signatures well before we ran out of people wanting to sign” Wendy said.

“We included tourists in our target audience as we wanted to assess the impact of a ban on our tourism industry.”

“I know that Council have suggested that we rely on educating people not to use plastic bags. But we have been ‘educating’ for a decade or more, and there are still several thousand bags a day distributed on the Island alone. The time has come to take stronger action. It has been done in lots of places around Australia, so it can be done here, on World Heritage Magnetic Island.”

“Council has been given a very clear, unambiguous message. We are confident they will find a way” she added.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Tourists surprised by bag ‘backwardness’
Kelly G.
September 4th 2009
After the death of that crocodile last year, maybe people are finally starting to realise how bad plastic is on the environment. It takes something like that, in the broader general news, to make the general public sit up and take notice. I do believe we will be better off if plastic bags are banned completely. Every step is a good one, but this is just a drop in the ocean. I pick up plastic litter from the island streets on a daily basis. I wish we could ban the plastic industry completely. I believe that this will be a battle for the children of tomorrow to take on, in order for our future to be brighter for all those living on planet earth. Namaste, Kelly.
Barbara Gibbs
September 4th 2009
Well helloooo. It is not only visitors,but also new-comers like myself, who are dumbfounded at the ignorance of those who have chosen to live in paradise on an island surrounded by ocean and beautiful marine mammals and reef, but fail to recognise that every one of their actions has a negative effect on the very lifestyle they allege to want.
I was told to wait another year before bothering to conduct World Oceans Day, but chose to ignore the suggestions as I could see a lot of education was required for the islanders if we were to have any chance of retaining stability in our surrounding waters.
Good on OLivia for pushing for change...the children are our future and I would like to get a Magnetic Island Coastcare Kids happening. Any interested parents of like-minded children can call me on 47581835.
Libby Illidge
September 4th 2009
Banning plastic bags is an important first step. While our councillors are un-prepared to impose a ban right now, despite the powerful messages already received from our kids and now adults too, perhaps they will change their minds if the show of support is even stronger. To their credit, councillors Veitch and Roberts have undertaken to come to the island soon (in the next school holidays) to canvass island businesses with the kids behind the first petition. The world's first Plastic Bag Free Day is next saturday, 12th September 2009 - perhaps we could all use that day to talk to our shops and businesses, and lay the ground-work for this upcoming visit. If our councillors are met with nothing but support for the ban, then perhaps they will feel brave enough to make that move. Coincidentally - 12 Sept is also the opening of a recycled art exhibition by Tropical Talent (those island kids again!).

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