Plastic pollution is ‘improving’ | Independent Geelong

By Tima Hallum

Plastic-free advocate Anne Marie Bonneau believes that we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

The statement resonates with Bellarine Catchment Network (BCN) Sustainability and Circular Economy Coordinator Rebecca St Ledger.

“Start somewhere small, start with your water bottle, an item in your life that you think ‘yes, I can trade that in’,” she said.

“It gradually leads to more and more changes in habits, you certainly don’t have to be a hero and try to solve the world’s problems right away.”

A recent report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s government agency responsible for scientific research, said plastic along the country’s beaches has been reduced by almost a third.

Ms St Ledger said the plastic problem along the coast is “improving”.

“Especially on the Bellarine, where we’ve really engaged cities of citizens who are so passionate and committed to getting out and picking up litter and really fighting plastic pollution in their cities,” she said.

“Wherever we had citizens doing regular cleanings and regularly checking for pollution, it went down 80 per cent.”

As beach cleanups help tackle a situation that is “already out of control”, Ms St Ledger is asking people to think about how to stop the problem at the source.

“Using less plastic is one of the most important things they can do, reusing your plastics, limiting them to the essentials,” she said.

For community members who want to help, Ms St Ledger recommends joining a local cleanup group, but also says “we can all make a difference” by looking at our own littering habits.

“Have a bag with you, take trash home when you see it…take care of your own trash, make sure you’re a good citizen,” she said.

“Walk on our beaches and do the ‘take three for the sea’.”

Bryce K. Locke