Please see below a list of current Media releases and news articles relevant to The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef, the Official straw campaign for the GBR.

Most Recent

4 July 2018 – MEDIA RELEASE – Australia First, Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach, first marina in Australia to have all venues plastic straw free.

 


Abell Point Marina village joins The Last Straw Great Barrier Reef campaign.

Abell Point Marina village joins The Last Straw Great Barrier Reef campaign.

With over 500 million plastic straws being discarded every day globally and each straw taking up to 450 years to start to degrade, the team at Abell Point Marina felt like it was time to take environmental action.

With 27 marina businesses and over 53 commercial tourism operators calling Abell Point Marina home, the next step for the marina was to spread the message and encourage participation in the campaign. In an overwhelming response, all five marina food venues have committed to becoming plastic straw free. Abell Point Marina is now the first marina in Australia to have all it’s venues plastic straw free.

Hemingway’s, Lure, The Kiosk Café, Bohemian Raw Café and Sorrento Restaurant & Bar have all taken the pledge to no longer provide plastic straws in beverages and only provide paper straws on request.

Bohemian Raw has taken this one step further and is selling reusable stainless straws to customers, with the first smoothie with every reusable straw purchase being complimentary. Says Kat Harrison, owner, of the initiative, “the response has been overwhelming particularly from our regulars, we have had to purchase new straws already to keep up with the demand.”

The Kiosk Café as well as removing plastic straws has also moved towards cardboard takeaway boxes and sandwich packs, to further commit to their business being plastic free.

Nicole Nash, marine biologist and founder of The Last Straw Great Barrier Reef explains, “Abell Point Marina is the not only the first marina in Queensland, but the first in Australia, to have all of its venues plastic straw free. With over 80% of marine debris entering the ocean from a land-based source, it is essential that both land and sea venues curb their plastic consumption. This is a massive achievement to all staff and businesses involved and will only inspire more venues to join the current 225 venues who have pledged to never use plastic straws again.

Abell Point Marina is a Clean Marina Level III and Fish Friendly Marina accredited through the Marina Industries Association. Located in the Whitsundays at the doorstep to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Abell Point’s commitment to The Last Straw campaign is the first of the environmental responsibility activities planned for the next financial year.

Encouragingly many of the marina’s tourism operators have also committed to the campaign including Explore Whitsundays, Whitsunday Sailing Adventures, Ocean Rafting, Red Cat Adventures, Providence Sailing and Whitsunday Escape, Charter Yachts Australia and Cumberland Charter Yachts have all signed the pledge. With over 120 vessels in their combined fleets and the majority being Eco Tourism Accredited, these operators educate thousands of visitors every year on the importance on conserving our marine environment.

Kate Purdie, Abell Point’s General Manager explains, “The businesses within our marina share the beautiful Whitsunday beaches and marine life with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. We see protecting these natural assets as our responsibility, so we are committed to marine conservation. By eliminating plastic straws from our food outlets, we have eliminated 70,000 straws per annum from being discarded. The marina is already plastic bag free and our participation in The Last Straw campaign is a great next step in our environmental strategy. We hope to lead the way for other marinas to follow suit and encourage all their venues to become plastic straw free.”

For more information on The Last Straw campaign, head to their website – http://www.laststraw.com.au/

Deakin University Australia

Deakin graduate giving Great Barrier Reef marine life a fighting chance

Deakin news

30 January 2018
A former Warrnambool student is giving Great Barrier Reef marine life a fighting chance as part of her new campaign to outlaw straws on commercial boats.

Nicole Nash graduated from Deakin’s Warrnambool marine biology course in 2013 and has since started her own campaign, The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef.

‘Banning straws will start the conversation with commercial vessel operators and the general public about the impacts that plastic has in the marine environment,’ she said.

‘Straws are easy to eliminate. Unless people have a medical condition, most people don’t really need a straw. There are many alternatives to plastic straws like stainless steel and bamboo. But our motto is, sip, don’t suck. No straw is still the best option.’

Formerly from Geelong, Ms Nash came to Warrnambool for the marine biology course and subsequently completed her master’s in Natural Resource Management at James Cook University in Cairns, where she researched marine debris around Australia. She now works as a ranger with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in Cairns.

Her research inspired her to tackle human consumption of single-use plastics. More than 75 per cent of marine debris found in and around the Great Barrier Reef is plastic. ‘Plastic will survive for more than 100 years, and the problem is it’s often mistaken for food by marine life and ingested; it also poses a threat of entanglement and critical habitat destruction,’ Ms Nash said.

‘Why use a straw for one minute when it will survive longer than your lifetime.’

The initiative is asking boats to pledge to remain straw free forever and will eventually expand to tackle island resorts, with the aim to inspire vessels to consider other single-use items they use like plastic cups and cutlery.

The response has been positive with many boats agreeing to the ban and displaying signs to inform customers.

Ms Nash has been working with supporting partners the Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways and Cairns Regional Council in producing a video and signs for the initiative.

She has fond memories of her time at Deakin Warrnambool. ‘The location is perfect and the academic staff always have an open door policy to assist,’ she said.

 

PUMPKIN ISLAND JOINS THE ‘LAST STRAW’ CAMPAIGN

May 2018

Pumpkin Island’s very own Pumpkin Xpress vessel is the 100th to join the ‘Last Straw’ campaign, pledging to never use single-use plastic straws again. Vessels as far north as Thursday Island  have committed to this campaign. The campaign aims to eradicate single-use plastic straws from businesses operating on and around the Great Barrier Reef.

Pumpkin Island owners, Wayne and Laureth Rumble, made the switch to offering paper straws on request only, in November 2016. They estimate that they would have previously used 5,000 plastic straws a year.

“Our paper straws do get composted and completely break down after a month or so in our compost bins”, says Wayne and Laureth.

Sip don’t suck, is the initiative of Cairns local Nicole Nash, an environmental scientist and Marine Biologist who formed the Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) campaign. Launched in early 2017, the campaign has reduced the GBR region’s single-use, plastic straw consumption by an estimated 1 Million straws per year. The campaign has just reached 100 plastic straw free vessels across the GBR region and over 60 businesses; including bars, cafes, restaurants and even resorts.

Mary Carroll, CEO Capricorn Enterprise, says, “We are so thrilled to see Pumpkin Island join this initiative. They already work extremely hard to reduce their environmental footprint, so it is no surprise that they have leapt at the chance to reduce their plastic waste even further. The Southern Great Barrier Reef is our region’s biggest drawcard, so it is so important that we all do our part to look after it.”

The Australian Marine Debris Database indicates that over 75% of marine debris found in and around the Great Barrier Reef is plastic. The Tangaroa Blue Foundation regularly conducts beach clean ups along the north Queensland coastline, to remove debris that has washed ashore. The majority of debris removed is plastic.

Research published earlier this year in the journal “Science” indicates that contact with plastic can make corals more than 20 times more susceptible to disease, and that there are more than 11 billion pieces of plastic debris on coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific. Management of plastic waste is critical to protect precious ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef.

For more information on how you can join contact the Last Straw on the GBR on www.thelaststrawonthegbr.org or on their Facebook @thelaststrawonthegbr

 

‘The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef’

Plastic News – US Correspondent

The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef Marine biologist Nicole Nash is working to persuade cruse ships, restaurants and bars working at or near the Great Barrier Reef to give up plastic straws.

Cairns, Australia — A marine biologist is waging a one-woman campaign against disposable polypropylene straws on the Great Barrier Reef.

Nicole Nash was working on the reef as a cruise attendant and a marine biologist, and was worried the reef’s millions of visitors were unaware of their environmental impact and problems like coral bleaching.

Just over a year ago she launched a campaign called “The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef,” which aims to get rid of disposable drinking straws used by businesses and commercial cruise vessels operating on and within a 125 mile radius of the reef.

Cairns-based Nash works full time in visitor management for the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, but in her lunch breaks, at weekends and after work, she visits cruise vessel operators, accommodation venues, tourist attractions and restaurants, asking them to sign a pledge to not supply PP straws.

Last Straw Nicole Nash at Sunlover, one of the companies that has signed the “Last Straw” pledge.

So far, 15 food outlets; 114 cruise boats; 30 resorts and hotels; and eight tour companies have signed the pledge and display signage in their venues or on their ships to show they support Nash’s campaign.

Nash estimates there are 450,000 fewer straws used annually from businesses that have signed the pledge so far.

Nash told Plastics News the “last straw” campaign is intended as a “conversation opener,” a way to get people thinking about their environmental impacts.

She is passionate about protecting the reef and thought of the PP straw campaign as a gimmick to more broadly promote “plastic-free alternatives” and to encourage venue and vessel operators to “increase sustainability standards and eco-friendliness” in Queensland’s tourism industry.

“Single-use plastic straws were a no brainer. People don’t need a straw unless they have a disability,” she said.

“Straws are something people don’t think twice about using. They just get one in their drink and don’t think about the environmental impacts and the fact the straw will outlive them.”

There are alternatives, like paper straws, but her campaign theme is “sip don’t suck.”

Last Straw A bar sign on board a straw-free vessel.

The campaign uses social media and Nash’s personal slogging around business owners to spread its message.

But she says there are hundreds of cruise companies, hotels and other companies she’s yet to talk to about joining the campaign. “The hardest part is reaching out to them all to get them to join,” Nash said.

She also wants to create educational materials that can be shown in schools and on cruise boats to promote protection for the reef and environmental awareness.

Last straw is affiliated with other environmental groups, like Citizens for the Great Barrier Reef, which has 380 members and campaigns on what it says are the reef’s greatest threats, climate change and waste.

The Great Barrier Reef marine park stretches for more than 1,800 miles off the Queensland coast. It is visited by millions of tourists annually.

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Cairns Regional Council – to go straw free and single use plastic free

http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/council/news-publications/media-releases/releases/straws