What does a future without plastic bags look like - why not ask the children?
At Laingholm in West Auckland they’ve banned plastic bags from their kindy. They might even be the first kindergarten in the country to do so.
On Friday the kids will be showing why banning single use plastic bags is such an important issue to them, and hundreds of others. They’re presenting a unique visual petition to the Government with over 400 pictures of sick turtles, birds and fish. Happily there are some rainbows and even a unicorn or two because these kids still have hope that New Zealand will stop its obsession with single use plastic bags. Soon.
Love Titirangi launched in July 2017, aiming to reduce and eventually eradicate single use plastics in the West Auckland Community. The initial campaign was a huge success with a massive reduction in single use plastic bags, and Laingholm Kindergarten taking the step to ban them from their centre completely. The kindergarten is the first in the Auckland Kindergarten Association group to make a centre-wide policy decision.
To celebrate this commitment and the dedication of over 400 children to this issue,
a showcase of children’s art works will be held at the Kindergarten.
Rather than a traditional petition, which children who can’t write are excluded from, these children’s pictures will form the basis of a visual plea to take to parliament. There will be a formal hand over of the images to Local MP and Chair of the Environmental Select Committee, Deborah Russell. She might even read the kids a story or two. Ms Russell will hear how the kindergarten achieved its plastic bag free status and meet some of the country’s youngest, passionate, environmental activists.
Last year New Zealand’s two biggest supermarkets Countdown and New World agreed to voluntarily ban the bag. Now environmental groups and communities around the country like Love Titirangi are calling on the Government to make it policy and create an even playing field for all shops.
This event on the 23 February is part of a nation-wide movement which will culminate in the presentation of an 60,000 signature petition by Greenpeace and the Jane Goodall Foundation for the NZ Government to ban the bag once and for all.
The Ban the Bag Petition will be presented to Parliament on 27 February.
The 400 plus pictures on display came about when Love Titirangi provided resource packs around recycling and the life cycle of plastics and then asked local schools and kindergartens to allow children to make pictures of the impact they saw plastic bags having on their world.
The idea grew, and as well as local children, regional groups from as far afield as Makatu in the Bay of Plenty embraced the idea.
New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion bags per year, that’s around 348 per person, per year, almost one a day.
The number of countries with bans on plastic bags continues to grow http://bit.ly/1kSm4uJ and new commitments to reducing single use plastics are a frequent topic of world news https://ind.pn/2G72XIE .
New Zealand lags behind other nations in our commitment to cleaning up plastic bag use and our reputation as a clean green nation has increasingly been under scrutiny internationally http://bit.ly/2BJ7HCW .
Unfortunately the children who drew these pictures aren’t far off the mark with their images of sick turtles and seabirds; a third of turtles and seabirds found dead on our beaches had swallowed plastic, most often in the form of plastic bags.