The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef

Single use plastics such as straws, plastic shopping bags and plastic cutlery are now days found readily in the marine environment and regularly at beach clean-ups across the world. Not only do plastics pose a threat of entanglement to marine life they also have the capacity to absorb toxins from the environment and then pass them onto organisms if they are later consumed. It is estimated that Australian’s use 10,000,000 straws every day! And all of them get just one use, before they get ditched, some escaping into the environment, and plenty of them making their way into our ocean and onto our beaches.

During the manufacturing boom in the 1960’s single use plastics skyrocketed in production, with cling wrap, Styrofoam, takeaway coffee cups, cutlery and plastic cups to name a few of these instant disposal items that are now used every day. You can purchase items these days such as corn – wrapped in a single film of plastic cling wrap – Do you really need this cling wrap? – What is the purpose of it, when all you will do is remove the plastic and then wash the corn anyway?

Eradicating this type of single-use plastic depends upon manufactures to change their packaging methods in order to limit this type of plastic consumption and production. However, there is something that you as the consumer can do, to help reduce your plastic consumption.

  1. Purchase unwrapped products where possible
  2. Don’t choose to take offered single-use plastics such as straws, plastic teaspoons, coffee cups. BYO or just say NO all together

The Last Straw Australia is a campaign that started in 2015 to end the use of plastic straws in venues around Australia.

In conjunction with the Tangaroa Blue Foundation and The Last Straw Australia, the concept of the Last straw on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) was developed by Marine Biologist, Nicole Nash. With the aim of her campaign being to remove all plastic straws off commercial vessels operating on the GBR. In turn reducing the chances of straws ending up directly in the ocean and limiting the consumption of single-use plastics in one of Australia’s most precious natural wonders, the GBR.

Local businesses are encouraged to join the pledge with the incentive being to reduce company costs by not having to purchase straws, limit waste on board, contribute to a more sustainable community and to educate visitors from all over the world how harmful plastics are if they end up in the world’s oceans. The aim of the Last Straw on the GBR is to firstly involve all reef vessels and completely make Cairns and Port Douglas straw free on the ocean! Secondly, moving onto local businesses in the same region who wish to contribute to making their business more sustainable. Thirdly, shifting both north and south of Cairns to get the entire fleet of vessels operating on the GBR to remove plastic straws from their vessels. Fourthly, any resorts operating on islands in the GBR to remove plastic straws from their restaurants and bars and replace them with biodegradable paper straws, or remove them completely.

What can you do?

Join the pledge today!

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