Call for urgent overhaul of Australia’s monitoring of ‘astronomical’ plastic pollution – Australia

Posted on February 18, 2023 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News



Plastic and marine debris

The Australian Academy of Science has called for an overhaul of the nation’s approach to studying plastic pollution, warning there is an over-reliance on volunteers and a lack of consistent data to document the “astronomical” problem.

About three-quarters of rubbish along Australia’s coast is plastic, posing a threat to more than 690 marine animals including turtles and seabirds. CSIRO researchers believe 43% of short-tailed shearwater birds in eastern Australia have plastic in their gut.

There have been major surveys of plastic pollution on beaches, including the Australian Marine Debris Initiative and the CSIRO’s international research partnership. But the academy is calling for more regular surveys that have a consistent approach and are collated in a national plastic pollution database.

“To stop pollution effectively you need to know its source, and knowing what leaks into the environment and its origins is critical for that,” said Prof Chennupati Jagadish, the president of the Australian Academy of Science.

“Just as we have national monitoring systems for emissions, outdoor air quality, and wastewater for drugs or Covid, it should be possible to identify some points to measure the amount of plastics entering our waterways to get a more complete and regular picture.”

Industry needs to be accountable for the plastic rubbish their products cause.  IT woudl mean they woudl charge higher prices for their products but at least then we are starting to pay the real cost of a product.