Committee report urges action on plastic pollution in Australia’s oceans

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Image credit: R_Yosha/stock.adobe.com

In a resounding call to arms against the mounting tide of plastic pollution, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water has unveiled its findings after an inquiry into the state of Australia’s oceans and waterways.

The committee’s comprehensive report, presented yesterday in Parliament, has delivered a message: urgent action is imperative to curb the escalating crisis of plastic waste.

With 22 targeted recommendations, the report aims to fortify Australia’s plastics management framework, reduce landfill accumulation, promote the use of recycled materials in plastic production, and enhance strategies for tackling existing environmental plastic.

Tony Zappia, chair of the Committee, minced no words in highlighting the gravity of the situation: “Without urgent action, plastic waste will increase and continue to negatively impact our oceans and waterways. Australia needs to act now to protect its natural environment for future generations.”

At the forefront of the recommendations is the call for an updated National Plastics Plan, crafted in collaboration with state and territory authorities, industry stakeholders, and the broader community.

Zappia emphasised the need for a cohesive national strategy, stressing the importance of industry accountability in stemming the flow of plastics into landfills.

Concerns were also raised regarding the confusion surrounding recycling practices across different jurisdictions.

Zappia underscored the necessity for uniformity in single-use plastic bans, waste collection standards, and the Container Deposit Scheme to dispel consumer misconceptions.

“Packaging and recycling labelling need to be standardised and simplified to reduce confusion and help consumers recycle the right containers,” Zappia asserted.

Moreover, the report underscored the imperative of comprehending the potential health risks posed by microplastic pollution.

The Committee has advocated for substantial investments in research and the formulation of a robust microplastic reduction strategy to mitigate its adverse effects on marine ecosystems.

The complete report, along with the Committee’s list of recommendations, is now available for scrutiny on the inquiry website.