BY JUSTINE HAMILTON
Greenpeace is continuing its stance against soft drink heavyweights Coca Cola Amatil despite the soft drink company’s recent court victory earlier this month over the Northern Territory’s bid to start a recycling program.
The environmental group launched an advertising campaign funded solely by its supporters in Fairfax papers last week showing the hazards of discarded plastic waste upon Australian marine life.
The full page ads in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald depict a Flesh-footed Shearwater from Lord Howe Island which starved to death with a stomach full of plastic particles that the bird had mistaken for food.
Scientists reveal that two thirds of seabirds are affected by plastic garbage which pollutes waterways and rivers and ends up in Australian oceans. Dr Jennifer Lavers of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic studies says that other marine creatures such as turtles, whales, seals and fish are also at high risk.
Greenpeace said state governments need to take a stand against big business and support a national recycling proposal in line with South Australia’s ‘cash for containers’, which sees recycling at almost double the rate of other states. The environmental group claims that the biggest factor of increasing sea pollution is the beverage industry, which it says needs to clean up its act and stop bullying tactics.
“The spotlight is now on the state premiers to stand up to Coke’s relentless bullying and take action to protect the environment from Coke’s blatant corporate self-interest,” says Greenpeace campaigner Reece Turner.
An upcoming ministerial meeting will determine the outcome of a nationwide recycling initiative that offers Greenpeace and its supporters a glimmer of hope that could stop Coca Cola Amatil in its tracks.
“With only five weeks until Environment Ministers meet on 11 April to decide on a national roll out of ‘Cash for Containers’, these premiers must decide whether they side with Coke or the community,” Mr Turner says.
According to figures from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW) Australians consume 14 billion drinks in disposable containers annually, of which less than half are recycled.
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