Government funding for research to cut marine plastic waste

Plastic bottles dumped in waterway
The Federal Government has announced $60,000 funding towards urgent research into the best way to reduce plastic pollution in Australia’s marine and water habitats.

The funding, under the National Environmental Science Programme’s (NESP) emerging priorities stream, will investigate the major sources of marine plastic waste around Australia and determine the most cost-effective options to reduce its volume. It aims to encourage better waste management practices and improve water quality outcomes for Australia’s marine environment.

Higher than expected levels of plastic contamination have been recorded around Australia, including in landmark locations like Sydney Harbour. Research shows plastic in the country’s marine environment can have a density of up to 40,000 items per square kilometre.

A statement from the Department of the Environment said: “It is essential that we better understand the impacts and sources of plastic waste and improve our management practices.

“Unlocking this knowledge will support our efforts to protect Australia’s unique marine ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”

The NESP’s Marine Biodiversity Hub will aim to guide a national approach for assessing current waste management practices and offer support to local, state and territory governments to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering waterways.

It will also investigate whether particular investments in facilities, policies, or outreach would be effective in reducing litter on coasts and in oceans.

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