Cairns Regional Council has announced on the 11th of April during the Planning and Environment Committee Meeting to take steps to remove single-use plastics from Council events and venues in a mission to lead by example to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is one of the first few councils in Australia to make such a commitment.
Molly Steer, a 10-year-old girl, who has been actively working in her campaign “Straw No More” since 2017, encouraged this action. Molly was only 9 years old when she watched the documentary “A Plastic Ocean”, and decided to start her own campaign to remove the use straws in an attempt to reduce the impact of straws on sea animals, especially sea turtles. She initially started in her own school and now more than 90 schools in Australia and overseas have banned the use of straws.
Along side with another campaign, “The last Straw”, founded by Nicole Nash, a marine biologist and also a Cairns resident, they have partnered with 88 tuck shops and 70 businesses along the Great Barrier Reef catchment to ban plastic straws from their premises.
The Cairns Regional Council mayor, Bob Manning, stated: “Cairns is the principal gateway to one of the world’s most iconic natural assets: The Great Barrier Reef”. That the impact of plastics on land and in the oceans is huge. The best way to tackle the problem is by reducing the production of waste at its source, or at the point of purchase, as Waste Reduction and Recycling Strategy highlights. By taking the straws and other single-use plastics from Council operations, Cairns is encouraging and inspiring others to do the same. The council is now appealing to the community and local businesses to follow their action plan and find ways of reducing the single-use plastics in their operations in order to contribute with a cleaner and healthier Great Barrier Reef.