Updated: Feb 14
Determining loss of rubber crumb near Great Barrier Reef
Many play areas have soft fall surfaces made of recycled rubber tyres applied as small pieces of crumb (1-5 mm in size). The development of the use of rubber crumb in playgrounds and synthetic sports fields has been partially as a result of the promotion of the Tyre Stewardship Scheme. This scheme aims to provide a pathway for the use of the end-of-life tyres that considers environmental, health and safety impacts. Rubber crumb and the chemicals associated with these (e.g. metals, PAHs, tyre antidegradants), however, have been found in international studies to leach into waterways and cause harm to aquatic life. Limited information exists on the potential loss and impacts associated with local sites and with the Great Barrier Reef considered a sensitive ecosystem, a focus on this region was considered a priority.
AUSMAP has been working on rubber crumb research in collaboration with ReefClean to document rubber crumb loss from play areas in the GBR catchment. Results indicate that rubber crumb playgrounds release an estimated 1.2 million crumbs into the immediate environment (within four meters of these sites) on average. These findings are of concern considering the proximity of the test sites to the Great Barrier Reef catchment. Further preliminary research suggests tyre chemicals may have toxic health effects on both marine and human life.
As a result of the findings from this study, the main recommendation is that rubber crumb-based soft fall play areas should be avoided near sensitive environments, particularly close to waterways.
Read the full report below.
RUBBER CRUMB IMPACT REPORT
Following the work completed by AUSMAP and determining that rubber crumb playgrounds
release an estimated 1.2 million crumbs into the immediate environment (within four meters of these sites) on average, Tangaroa Blue released a rubber crumb impact report. Discussing how these results are even more worrying, considering the proximity of the test sites to Great Barrier Reef catchment, and other research suggesting tyre chemicals may have toxic health effects on both marine and human life.
Read the full report through link below.
This project was funded by ReefClean. ReefClean is funded by the Australian Government's Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation. We would like to thank the team of Tangaroa Blue and ReefClean for helping us make this possible.