The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy has released the Draft Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine species (2017) for public comment. The comment period closed on 13 April 2017, however you can still read the draft plan HERE.
Marine debris can take many forms and includes waste thrown from ships at sea, to discarded fishing gear to plastic litter washed into the ocean from the land. In its 2014 Marine Debris Report, the CSIRO found that, 'approximately three-quarters of the rubbish along the coast is plastic. Most is derived from nearby sources….’ Our focus is on plastic debris, particularly from discarded, disposable plastic items.
The Australian Government is now seeking your views on how to address the impacts of marine debris. Our Top 5 recommendations include:
- Setting firm targets and deadlines at federal and state levels to reduce plastic pollution
- Adopting the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into Marine Plastic Pollution (2016). This included support for citizen science and supporting proven measures that reduce marine debris.
- Prevention is better than cure. Support state-based initiatives on container deposits and plastic packaging bans and take action this year to ban plastic micro-beads in cleaning and personal care products.
- Take action to tag fishing gear and recover ghosts nets in Australian waters.
- Introduce Producer Responsibility Schemes that reduce micro-plastic pollution particularly from clothing, cigarettes and plastic manufacturing facilities.
- Establish a multi-jurisdictional taskforce to take action on pollution problems associated with disposable plastic products, in both Australia and our region, now and into the future.
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