The Department of the Environment and Energy has published new Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of marine debris on the vertebrate wildlife of Australia’s coasts and oceans.
The plan identifies actions needed to abate the listed key threatening process, particularly actions to develop understanding about microplastic impacts and the potential role of new technologies in waste management.
The plan has no direct link to any Australian Government funding programs, and notes that “Investment in marine debris TAP actions will be determined by the level of resources that industry, government and community stakeholders commit to management of the problem”.
“The actions are intended to be feasible, effective and efficient, as required by the EPBC Act. The plan binds the Commonwealth and its agencies to respond to the impact of marine debris on vertebrate marine life, and identifies the research, management and other actions needed to reduce the impacts of marine debris on affected species.”
The plan sets out five key objectives:
Contribute to long-term prevention of the incidence of marine debris;
Understand the scale of impacts from marine plastic and microplastic on key species, ecological communities and locations;
Remove existing marine debris;
Monitor the quantities, origins, types and hazardous chemical contaminants of marine debris, and assess the effectiveness of management arrangements for reducing marine debris;
Increase public understanding of the causes and impacts of harmful marine debris, including microplastic and hazardous chemical contaminants, to bring about behaviour change.