The Noosa Biosphere was the first biosphere in Queensland, Australia. Sanctioned in September, 2007 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the former Noosa Shire boundary became a biosphere region encompassing approximately 150,000 hectares of freshwater/tidal and terrestrial areas.
At their final Board meeting for 2010, the Noosa Biosphere Governance Board endorsed moves by community groups in their aim to remove plastic bags from the biosphere.
Mr Michael Donovan, Chair of the Noosa Biosphere Ltd, said that the Noosa Biosphere wishes to support both Sunshine Coast Council and Sunshine Coast Litter Collective collaborative pilot programs towards waste reduction and a key step is the reduction in unnecessary packaging.
“Planned reduction towards elimination of plastic bags is seen as an excellent example of a community driven initiative supported by key business groups, environmental organisations, and individuals,” said Mr Donovan.
The Biosphere Board heard that the Original Eumundi Markets are already plastic bag free and moves are underway to attempt to reduce or eliminate plastic bags from the broader township of Eumundi in a pilot program facilitated by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
The pilot program falls under the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s Environment program and initially includes 4 communities across the coast including the Peregian Beach community, which falls into the footprint of the UNESCO designated Noosa Biosphere region.
“Initiatives such as these are important for the biosphere to support for example, The Original Eumundi Markets are producing substitutes to plastic bags such as biosphere friendly re-usable bags that are being designed and manufactured in partnership with local artisans and The House with No Steps,” said Mr Donovan.
Mr Peter Homan, General Manager of the Original Eumundi Markets said that the markets have been working in partnership with stall holders for several years now to eliminate plastic bags and that with just a little will and effort it can be done.
“We are now taking the project the next step and having re-usable bags developed for those businesses who just can’t do without a carry bag substitute, and this concept can then be utilised by businesses from across the region”, continued Mr Homan.
In joining the call for a plastic bag free biosphere, Mr Donovan recognises that this is an ongoing initiative already underway with the support of many groups including community groups and local traders.
“The Noosa Biosphere itself need not drive every initiative. There has to be self-generated and spontaneous take-up of many ideas across the biosphere to preserve and maintain what we have in a sustainable way,” said Mr Donovan.
“We can all make an immediate and permanent choice to say no to plastic bags. To effect reduction then elimination it will take time, perseverance and reminders but it is very well worth doing.”
Further information: www.noosabiosphere.org.au