Ban the bag: used to 12 minutes, a plastic bag takes 1000 years to break down

A campaign in Australia to ban plastic bags is gaining momentum.

A campaign in Australia to ban plastic bags is gaining momentum.

Plastic bags are one of the biggest sources of pollution on the planet. More than 10 million bags are used in Australia every day. 

On average a plastic bag is used for 12 minutes and each one takes 1000 years to break down. 

Presenter of Australia's The Project Waleed Aly  has appealed to the premiers of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia to take a stance and act to ban plastic bags. In a joint campaign with Clean Up Australia, Aly called on viewers to sign a petition and to make their voices heard. 

Since the program aired in Australia on Wednesday, just under 70,000 people had signed the #BanTheBag petition. The ban would apply to single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags.

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Plastic bags are the biggest problem at landfill (file pic).
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Plastic bags are the biggest problem at landfill (file pic).

Aly cited a Senate Inquiry into marine plastic pollution from last year, which recommended the federal government support the states to ban plastic bags. New South Wales opposition leader Luke Foley appeared on The Project on Thursday and said he had legislation drafted to enact a ban, which he will introduce to the parliament.

Some States and territories already have been in place, including South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT. Queensland will introduce a ban in July next year.

Australians are particularly wasteful - we are second only to America in how much rubbish we produce. Countries such as China, France, Taiwan, Italy and Ethiopia have bans in place. 

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 - Sydney Morning Herald

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