Drowning in waste: Plastic pollution in Australia’s oceans and waterways report tabled

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water has concluded its inquiry into plastic pollution in Australia’s oceans and waterways.

The committee’s final report, tabled today in Parliament, makes 22 recommendations aimed at strengthening Australia’s plastics management framework to minimise plastic waste to landfill, incentivise the use of recycled materials in the production of new plastics and strengthen management of the plastics that are already in the environment.

Chair of the Committee, Tony Zappia MP, said, "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."

A key recommendation is the development of an updated National Plastics Plan in consultation with state and territory governments, industry, and the community. Mr Zappia said, "The plan should be nationally coordinated and increase industry accountability to reduce the amount of plastics ending up in landfill."

"Many Australians want to recycle correctly but inconsistencies among states and territories have led consumers to believe that certain items are recyclable or compostable when they are not. The committee recommends nationally harmonising the single-use plastic bans, waste collection standards and the Container Deposit Scheme," Mr Zappia said.

"Packaging and recycling labelling need to be standardised and simplified to reduce confusion and help consumers recycle the right containers," he said.

"We also need to better understand the potential risks and effects of microplastic pollution on human health. The committee has recommended investment in research and the development of a microplastic reduction strategy to limit microplastic pollution in our marine environments.’

The full report, including the committee’s complete list of recommendations, can be found on the inquiry website.



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