Year 10 students’ petition to ban plastic bags in NSW gains traction

By AG STAFF 22 June 2018
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A 15-year-old girl has started a petition to ban plastic bags in New South Wales and is 1500 signatures away from having it debated in the NSW parliament.

MONTE SANT’ Angelo Mercy College student Sophia Skarparis has garnered a whopping 8500 signatures on her petition to ban plastic bags in New South Wales and she’s determined to get the 10,000 needed to have the issue debated in parliament.

Yesterday, Woolworths’ plastic bag ban across NSW came into full effect. However, NSW is officially the last state without a complete plastic bag ban after Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria banned them from 2018 onwards.

Sophia met with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in early May. “When I met her I only had 7000 signatures so she was only going to respond by letter. After the meeting, I advised her office that I would set up a meeting with her when I obtained 10,000 signatures, as that means that she has to table the petition in NSW Government and it guarantees a conversation.”

Sophia’s petition follows on from 10-year-old Molly Steer’s successful Straw No More campaign to phase out the use of plastic straws in Cairns, which have proven to be deadly for animals living in the Great Barrier Reef.

“I believe, my generation can be the ‘game changers’. We are more conscious about the environment and looking for a more ‘shared’ economy. Also through the use of social media we can mobilise interested supporters in a way that has not been seen before,” Sophia said.

“Our generation is seeing the negative impacts on marine and bird life that plastic is having. We are not tied to a need for plastic for bin liners and dog waste. We want the change where we can reuse bags, coffee cups, not use plastic straws or balloons and reduce plastic packaging of food.”

Now in year 10, Sophia plans on carrying on her passion for the environment beyond high school. “I am interested in a role associated with town planning where I could influence the planning of buildings, roadways, parks and look to build a more greener, sustainable communities.

“But as soon as I have finished collecting the signatures I would like to establish a Youth Forum where the youth have a say in environmental issues and look to develop innovative solutions to resolve problems.”

The NSW parliament does not allow online signatures. Therefore, if you would like to help Sophia with her petition, please print out the attached document that can be downloaded here, and send it back to PO Box 554, Willoughby 2068 with as many signatures as possible. Please do not sign the petition if you do not live in NSW.