Plastic Pollution: a Threat to Our Environment
As plastic Pollution in our Oceans worsens, we need to rethink how stormwater drains are managed. Although Plastic water pollution may be out of sight of mind type of thinking, the actual amount of water plastic pollution is shocking. With 80 percent of plastic in the oceans coming from land based sources, and around 1500kg of plastic entering oceans every hour – primarily coming from stormwater systems – and change needs to be made. With Australia being the worlds second highest producers of waste per person in the world with 690 kgs of waste to landfill each year. Plastic bags alone contribute a high fraction of the plastic waste, with Australians using over 5 billion single use plastic bags per year equating to 20 million tonnes of plastic.
Plastic pollution in our oceans has many detrimental effects on marine life and ecosystems. In addition to the pollution that is inflicted on the ocean, there is a high risk of ingestion of plastic by fish and marine life, as well as plastic having a very slow decay life so remain in the ocean for years to come. Furthermore, toxic chemicals leach out of plastic as the decay in the ocean and exposure to this can poison marine life. Thousands of seabirds, sea turtles, fish and other marine life are killed each year due to this plastic pollution. Furthermore, according to the EPA almost 50% of plastics float for years, smothering habitats and reduce the water clarity reducing the ability for photosynthesis to occur.
Steps must be taken. At each stage of stormwater treatment and management there can be improvements made. In our governmental policies there can be changes, with many new options to be instigated and introduced. We could learn from the US government in this way, as they use stormwater meters with private land owners paying for stormwater management forcing people to reduce their plastic waste. Councils can be more forceful and stringent on their stormwater treatment and management systems for the removal of plastics. The most modern possible techniques and filtration systems must be continually implemented to ensure the safety of our environment.
PROTECTOR’s continual development of our gross pollutant trap, the ECOPROTECTOR, has shown our desire to continually improve and protect our environment. Our full capture, hydrodynamic gross pollutant traps removes all larger debris and plastic greater than 5mm from stormwater flow. Our wedgewire screen system redirects the debris flow into our gross pollutant capture system as the water flows down through our vortex tube into the silt chamber. The vortex tube promotes hydrodynamic flow which separates out the sediments and debris that have flowed removing them from the water flow. The water is then able to flow up out outlet riser and out into the following waterways.
With plastic taking 500-1000 years to degrade as it is made from petroleum products. With the ban on the plastic bag meeting some resistance with Coles backing down and with other single use plastics like straws and coffee lids still in circulation, we must push any other means to prevent plastic pollution. The ECOPROTECTOR is the solution that must be implemented into our storm water treatment systems, to protect waterways, our marine life and our environment.