The war on plastics has ramped up over the last few years to the point where we’re now seeing bans on single use plastics become more and more common. Queensland has always copped a lot of jokes about being the a state that has to catch up to the rest of the country, but they’re very much on the forefront of this particular movement, and are looking to ban single use plastics state wide as early as next year.
Queensland banned plastic shopping bags from stores in July 2018, but these new laws are looking to target plastic straws, plastic cutlery, and plastic plates. Later on they might even cover disposable coffee cups and those big, reusable plastic shopping bags.
The conversation about banning plastic straws has been particularly heated, with lots of people relying on plastic straws to eat, drink, and take medications. Before the Queensland government go ahead with the legislation, they’ve made a point of saying that they’re going to consult with a number of community groups, including people with disabilities. They’ll also work in exemptions to the law for people who need to use plastic straws.
The original movement to ban the straws outright seemed to have forgotten that disabled people exist, so it’s good to see that that particular lesson has been learned.
I haven’t been able to forget while reading these reports that Queensland is also the state that the Adani coal mine is in the process of being approved in.
The mine is planning to take 12.5 billion litres of water from Queensland – a state in drought – but have somehow managed to avoid having to provide a full environmental impact statement. It means we don’t know the full extent of the damage the mine could create, but cutting a giant coal mine into the ground is never going to do good things.
Banning single use plastics is a great move if the right considerations are taken, but it’s also not going to balance out a new coal mine by any stretch of the imagination. Individual action is important, but if the Queensland government wants to pretend that shifting all of the state’s environmental responsibility to the people will solve their problems, then they’re kidding themselves.