Despite Australia being home to the wondrous Great Barrier Reef which has endured years of pollution resulting in irreversible damage, some Australians seem quite reluctant to take measures to save the planet.

Barrier Reef pollution

(Polluted wildlife in the Great Barrier Reef)

Major supermarket chains is all but two states will now be fined if they provide single-use plastic bags in a government effort to encourage the consumer to be more conscientious of their impact on the environment. This isn’t going particularly well.

According to the West Australian newspaper, shop workers have been subject to shocking abuse by customers who just can’t let go of their single-use bags. In a Woolworth’s store, a frustrated man put his hand around a shop assistant’s throat after discovered there were no plastic bags. Other staff have had shopping thrown at them.

One employee reported that a customer “left all their shopping, told us we are useless and walked out.”

Workers’ Union Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association conducted a survey which found that 43% of employees had been abused by customers because of the ban.

In defence of retail workers, the union issued this statement:

“While we understand that some customers may be frustrated by this change, there is absolutely no excuse for abusive or violent behaviour towards retail staff.”