Young people drive for plastic bag ban

CASSSIE
BAG BAN: From left, Strathbogie Shire members Lachlan Matthew-Gunn, Malachi Wild, Benjamin Lewis, Zachary St-Pierre, Jade Donnison, Dylan Chambers

By Cassidy Sneikus

A team of six young people from Strathbogie Shire will push for a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags at the YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament next month.

Lachlan Matthew-Gunn, Zachary St-Pierre, Jade Donnison, Malachi Wild, Benjamin Lewis and Dylan Chambers are representing the Strathbogie Shire at the annual event in July to spread awareness of the consequences of single-use plastics on the environment.

Since 1987, YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament has given 120 young people across Victoria the opportunity to be heard at the highest levels of State Government.

More than 30 Youth Parliament Bills have gone on to become Victorian legislation.

Lachlan Matthew-Gunn from the Mitchell Youth Council believes these are necessary first steps to combat the rising damage being caused nation-wide.

“Single use plastic bags, and single use plastic altogether, is one of the most detrimental physical pollutants in our society. Constantly what we see today in the news are the impacts on our society and more needs to be done about reducing it.”

The Bill proposes a Single Use Plastic Bag Commission which would be responsible for phasing out single-use plastic bags in Victorian businesses over a twelve-month period.

The team have also proposed that any excess bags are used in newly developed bitumen for roads across Australia, a sustainable method to tackle the plastic crisis.

“We want to have a reusable society where nothing is going to waste,” Mr. Matthew-Gunn explained. “Ideally, we’d have a more sustainable environment, so we’re not continuously using single use bags that’s just going to be filling up landfill.”

In the Mitchell Shire, communities have reduced their waste by using cardboard boxes and promoting reusable bags such as ‘Boomerang Bags.’

The Strathbogie Shire team wants these community actions to turn into a state-wide impact.

“This is an example of what community strength and community action can do. This is just the beginning, there’s more we can do, it’s about where we can go from here,” said Mr. Matthew-Gunn.

YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament will sit on the 1st, 2nd and 4th of July at Spring Street.

Cassidy Sneikus is a member of the YMCA Youth Press Gallery.

This article originally appeared on The Euroa Gazette, June 12, 2019.

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