WE are all familiar with the images of plastic in our oceans and waterways, and the negative effect it has on sea creatures and the wider environment. But sometimes it is hard to know what to do about it.
Well the community of Meeniyan has taken on the challenge, getting together to phase out the use of single-use plastic bags within the township.
Officially launched at the Meeniyan Square Gathering on Friday night, the initiative sees plastic bags being progressively removed from businesses in Meeniyan over the coming weeks.
In creating and leading the project, Meeniyan IGA owner Kaelene Shervell and local resident Jenneke Kijlstra-Shone were pleasantly surprised to find that most businesses in the town were already plastic bag free.
The remaining businesses were enthusiastic about jumping on board the transition to alternatives, mainly the adoption of the locally-designed 100% strong and reusable shopping bags that will now be on sale in businesses throughout the town.
The bags contain logos of sponsors, who helped finance the initial order of bags, as well as a wonderful design by a student from Koonwarra Village School, which took out a competition amongst local schools.
The leaders of the project have also been encouraged to discover the huge amount of work already being done at the primary school and kindergarten level within the town and the wider area, with Tarwin Valley Primary School undertaking a year-long project on waste, and the Meeniyan Kinder having covered waste extensively over the past 12 months.
The project hopes to set an example for other towns to follow in phasing out single-use plastic bags, set a positive environmental image for the town, demonstrate what is possible using the power of community, and ultimately result in less plastic pollution in the ocean.