LIONS POUNCE ON PLASTIC

Whit­sun­day Lions mar­kets to be­come plastic bag free from April 1.

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Peter Car­ruthers Peter.Car­ruthers@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

THEY are tak­ing a stand against po­ten­tially deadly plastic shop­ping bags.

Af­ter many years of re­main­ing an idea, from April 1 the Whit­sun­day Lions will for­mally ban the use of plastic bags by stall­hold­ers at the Air­lie Beach fore­shore mar­kets.

Mar­ket com­mit­tee chair Al­lan Grav­elle said dur­ing the tran­si­tional pe­riod the Lions would pro­vide al­ter­na­tives to stall hold­ers in the form of pa­per bags and onion style net­ted bags for the prod­ucts they sold.

Mr Grav­elle said the fore­shore pro­vided a beau­ti­ful beach front lo­ca­tion for the weekly mar­ket and at times the area was known to be windy.

“You do get the oc­ca­sional plastic bag blow­ing into the wa­ter, which most times we are able to re­trieve, but we are hop­ing to avoid that com­pletely,” he said.

The Whit­sun­day Lions are ac­tively do­ing their bit to pro­tect the ma­rine ecosys­tem off Air­lie Beach from con­tam­i­nants that are known to kill ma­rine life.

“The main is­sue is with tur­tles who think they are jel­ly­fish and try to eat them. And just the fact it’s hu­man rub­bish get­ting cast into the ocean, that is to be avoided whether tur­tles eat them or not,” Mr Grav­elle said.

Lions vice pres­i­dent Linda Bax­ter said tur­tles that swal­lowed plastic bags were called “floaters” be­cause the air be­came trapped in the in­gested plastic and they couldn’t dive to catch their prey.

“They lit­er­ally starve to death,” she said.

Mr Grav­elle said the idea had the sup­port of the stall hold­ers.

“We have had an ex­cel­lent re­sponse; of the 120 peo­ple we have on our books here we have had one or two mi­nor ques­tions about how it is go­ing to be im­ple­mented but ev­ery­one else is to­tally be­hind it. The re­sponse is over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive,” he said.

Mar­ket stall holder Sylvie Martin said she thought it was a good idea and added the ban sent a pos­i­tive mes­sage to in­ter­na­tional visi­tors to the Whit­sun­days.

“I am against plastic bags,” she said.

“We can’t af­ford to have the plastic in the wa­ter. Enough is enough, in Europe we have not used plastic bags for years now.”

PHOTO: PETER CAR­RUTHERS

BAN THE BAG: Lions Mar­ket man­ager Heather Toy and mar­ket com­mit­tee chair­man Al­lan Grav­elle at the e fore­shore mar­ket site.

PHOTO: PETER CAR­RUTHERS

BAG FREE: The Air­lie Beach fore­shore mar­kets com­mit­tee will ban the use of plastic bags from April 1.

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