Pumpkin Island Pledge No More Plastic Straws on the Great Barrier Reef

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 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, Destination Marketing CEO, 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.

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