Every year 7 billion drinks containers are littered or landfilled in Australia. Campaign group “Kicking the Can” are asking Australians to sign a petition urging the government to set up a national container deposit system. They say that “Introducing container deposit legislation [CDL] (a 10 cent refund like they’ve had in South Australia since 1977) is the most important step Australia can take to restrict plastic pollution entering our oceans, killing wildlife and poisoning the marine environment that we all rely on.”
Plastic is made to last, so it decays only very slowly in the oceans, breaking down into ever smaller fragments. These tiny fragments are known as micro-plastic. Micro-plastics attract toxins onto their surfaces, and are eaten by plankton who mistake them for fish eggs. From plankton they pass up the food chain and back to us.
Filter feeders like mussels accumulate the plastic as they filter the water. This concentrates the plastic and effectively turns some of those molluscs into hermaphrodites. The very small plastic particles can mimic certain things like oestrogen.
Kicking the Can predict that a National container deposit scheme will solve the massive problem of beverage container litter, drastically increase recycling, provide jobs, cut costs to Council waste collection and provide fundraising opportunities for schools and community groups.
Australians can send a letter to a state minister imploring the Australian government to implement a National Container Deposit System at http://kickingthecan.org.au/take-action/.
Kicking the Can for Australia
What are long term threats of plastic in our seas?, BBC