High levels of microplastics not harming Tasmania's brand

SEAFLOOR SAMPLING: High concentrations of microplastics in seafloor sediments were found along Tasmania's East Coast by a recent study. Picture: Supplied
SEAFLOOR SAMPLING: High concentrations of microplastics in seafloor sediments were found along Tasmania's East Coast by a recent study. Picture: Supplied

Concerns about plastic polluting Tasmania’s East Coast are unlikely to harm tourism in the area, Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Mayor Michael Kent AM says.

His comment follow a recent University of Tasmania report revealing high concentrations of microplastics were discovered along the coastline.

IMAS researcher Dr Scott Ling said he was surprised by the high microplastic levels,  found outside of urban areas, which have unknown health implications to marine life and humans.

SYDNEY SURVEYS: Dr Scott Ling samples seafloor sediment around Sydney Harbour for microplastics. Picture: Supplied

SYDNEY SURVEYS: Dr Scott Ling samples seafloor sediment around Sydney Harbour for microplastics. Picture: Supplied

“In fact, the highest concentration of 12 microplastic filaments per ml of sediment was from Bicheno on Tasmania’s East Coast,” Dr Ling said.

“We need to reconsider our usage of plastics and try to reduce this in whatever we do.”

Cr Kent said, “If plastics have got to go, then they’ve got to go”.

He did not think the report would impact tourism, but said “we need to make sure we’re on top of the plastic problem”.

Brand Tasmania executive director Robert Heazlewood said microplastic pollution was a global issue that “inevitably affects even relatively clean and remote places like Tasmania”.

“Brand Tasmania encourages the type of research conducted by Dr Scott Ling, of IMAS which can influence policy development on such issues at both State and Federal level,” Mr Heazlewood said.

“Tasmania has a strong reputation for science-based research,” he said.

“Recent research conducted by Brand Tasmania confirms that the State's brand remains healthy.