Plastic bags and balloons endanger marine life in Port Stephens

A Loggerhead Turtle. Photo by David Harasti, Research Scientist with NSW Department of Primary Industries
A Loggerhead Turtle. Photo by David Harasti, Research Scientist with NSW Department of Primary Industries

 

PLASTIC bags and balloons kill marine animals and birds; they ingest them and die.

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Animals mistake balloons and plastic bags for jellyfish.

Green Sea and Loggerhead Turtles live in Port Stephens, both are threatened species and jellyfish form part of their diets.

Danny Eather of Destination Port Stephens told News Of The Area, “It is vital for the tourism businesses in our region that we protect the natural assets of Port Stephens, including those who live beneath the surface, who are somewhat harder to see.”

He believes that residents and tourists alike are keen to see turtles and other marine species protected and if we can make small changes that may help, like the use and disposal of plastic bags that would be good.

“Our turtles, and the other inhabitants of the Bay need our help; in disposing of plastic properly we are protecting the future of our environment,” he said

There are calls to ban single use plastic bags.

Nigel Dique of Econetwork said, “Stopping the use of single use bags at checkouts is definitely a step in the right direction.”

“It is important that this does not result in unintended consequences, reusable plastic bags are not the end of the story as these break down and leave micro particles which end up in the environment.”

“Stores like Bunnings that use bio degradable recycled boxes, are using the best solution, however we need to change the behaviours and habits that people have adopted over the last 30 years to change the impact of plastic bags on the environment,” he said.

Balloons travel long distances.

Helium balloons from a Sydney festival were found on Lord Howe Island.

Environmental groups are calling for people to use bubbles not balloons as a part of an awareness campaign ‘Where Balloons Fly, Seabirds Die’.

By Marian SAMPSON

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