Protecting oceans from micro-plastic pollution

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The Royal Botanic Gardens has launched an initiative to protect oceans and marine life from micro-plastic pollution.

Micro-plastics are non-biodegradable plastics that measure less than 5mm, and are found in many products like shampoos, exfoliants and shower gels. When these products go down sinks they travel straight into the ocean and cannot be removed by treatment processes because they are too small.

When seabirds ingest micro particles they can suffer from blockages, choking and starvation. Scientists around the world are also worried about the health implications to humans who eat seafood contaminated by micro-plastics.

The Royal Botanic Gardens teamed up with Fauna and Flora International (FFI) to launch the initiative, and join with other non-government organisations, governments and businesses to eliminate micro-plastic pollution sources in Australia.

FFI will introduce a free smartphone app into Australia later this year where consumers can scan a product’s barcode to see if plastic is present.

To symbolise FFI’s and the Royal Botanic Gardens’ partnership the Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands (and FFI president) planted an endangered Chrysophyllum imperiale tree with Executive Director – Sydney’s Parklands and Botanic Gardens, Kim Ellis and Environment Minister, Rob Stokes.


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