Market News

 June 21, 2018
What's the best solution to plastic pollution?

 The question of how to tackle plastic pollution in the state is back on the table after another plea for a container deposit scheme.

Dr Joanna Vince, a senior lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Tasmania says more needs to be done to combat plastic pollution.

She says a container deposit scheme would greatly reduce plastic pollution.

"Research shows that on a local level container deposit schemes, and more opportunities for soft plastic recycling, can make a difference in the amount of plastic found in the ocean," Dr Vince said.

She points out that one garbage truck worth of plastic enters our oceans every minute.

That figure alone is staggering.

Pictures of the mass of plastic which pollutes our oceans is definitely a major concern.

It's something that has been put firmly in the spotlight by former Burnie man Craig Leeson who has made internationally recognised films showing the extreme side of plastic pollution and the damage it does to wildlife and the environment.

On a more local scale, the pollution of our environment becomes quite evident whenever a clean-up happens.

At Macquarie Harbour on the West Coast over two years a project collected 11 tonnes of debris and 60,000 pieces or 80 per cent of the debris was made of plastic.

The Tasmanian Government recently received a report from the Environment Protection Authority which was commissioned to investigate a container refund scheme for the state, which could complement what happens elsewhere.

The $100,000 report should put some real numbers around what it would cost, and also the benefits to the state.

The big question will be, does the environmental benefit outweigh the cost of such a scheme?

Does our government put enough value on the environment to come up with a way of covering the cost of such a scheme, which would help to significantly reduce plastic in the waste stream -- particularly that which is ending up in our water courses and eventually the ocean.

Many will say Tasmania is only a drop in the ocean, but any movement like this has to start somewhere.

Container deposit schemes work in other parts of the country, so they should be able to happen here in Tasmania.