The NSW Greens have welcomed the WA Government’s phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags from mid-next year and called on NSW to follow its lead.

Australians use up to an estimated 4 billion light-weight plastic bags a year. Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT have already banned the bag.

Greens Marine spokesperson Justin Field said NSW was lagging behind on taking urgent action to stop plastic pollution.

“Every year in NSW thousands of marine animals are injured and killed by plastic pollution in our oceans. There is one way to fix it – it’s time to put an end to single use plastics,” Mr Field said today.

“People are shocked when they hear an estimated 50 million plastic bags end up as litter in the environment each year in Australia, mostly in our waterways and ocean, where they kill and injure dolphins, turtles and other marine life.

“NSW is falling behind the rest of the country and the rest of the world when it comes to reducing litter and protecting our marine life. While states like WA and Queensland have banned single-use plastic bags, Premier Berejiklian has refused to act. The state has become a plastic pariah, trashing our natural environment and people’s health.

“The community is ready for change, the big supermarkets have announced plastic bag bans, now we need action from the NSW Premier.

“Every day we delay is a missed opportunity for reducing our pollution, protecting marine life and creating a healthier future for NSW.

“The Greens will stand with the community and keep up pressure for the change needed,” he said.