LIONS POUNCE ON PLASTIC
Whitsunday Lions markets to become plastic bag free from April 1.
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.”
BAN THE BAG: Lions Market manager Heather Toy and market committee chairman Allan Gravelle at the e foreshore market site.
BAG FREE: The Airlie Beach foreshore markets committee will ban the use of plastic bags from April 1.