Plas­tics a ‘haz­ard’, says Heidi

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

PLAS­TIC – Tan­garoa Blue founder and Dou­glas Shire res­i­dent Heidi Tay­lor hates it.

As she told the Se­nate in­quiry into the threat of marine plas­tics last week, she wants it to be la­belled “haz­ardous”.

Ms Tay­lor is back­ing a call by a group of sci­en­tists who wrote in the jour­nal Na­ture that all plas­tics should be la­belled haz­ardous.

They ar­gue such a clas­si­fi­ca­tion would lead to im­me­di­ate clean-up of many af­fected habi­tats us­ing ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion and govern­ment fund­ing.

The prob­lem with things like plas­tic bags and tooth­brushes in the marine en­vi­ron­ment are well know.

Not so well known are the plas­tic pol­lu­tants we can’t see – one of the points Tan­garoa Blue Foun­da­tion, which holds one the most com­pre­hen­sive data­bases on marine de­bris in Aus­tralia, raised in its sub­mis­sion to the in­quiry is the lev­els of tox­ins that are ac­cu­mu­lat­ing in our food chain from plas­tics in­gested by marine wildlife which can be ex­tremely haz­ardous.

“This in­cludes pre-pro­duc­tion resin pel­lets and nao par­ti­cles, the con­stantly ac­cu­mu­lat­ing par­ti­cles re­sult­ing from the break up of plas­tic prod­ucts, the mi­cro scrubs in per­sonal care prod­ucts and mi­cro fi­bres from cloth­ing re­leased through the sew­er­age sys­tem.”

“Clas­si­fy­ing plas­tic waste as haz­ardous needs to be­come part of the dis­cus­sion in our ap­proach to the is­sue in Aus­tralia,” Tan­garoa Blue said.

“We can’t con­tinue to re­lease over 8 mil­lion tonnes of plas­tic waste into our oceans ev­ery year and be­lieve that this is not go­ing to have huge im­pact to both our en­vi­ron­ment and hu­man health in the fu­ture.”

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Heidi Tay­lor of Tan­garoa Blue

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