Help keep One Green Planet free and independent! Together we can ensure our platform remains a hub for empowering ideas committed to fighting for a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate world. Please support us in keeping our mission strong.
Australia has seen a surge in the adoption of artificial grass, especially in areas where space is at a premium. Whether it’s in small gardens or expansive sporting fields, synthetic turf seems to be the new favorite, largely because of its evergreen nature that demands no watering, mowing, or any other form of maintenance.
Source: Jimmy Lewis/YouTube
Recent statistics from New South Wales paint a clear picture: from 2018 to now, the number of suburban sporting fields using fake grass has risen from 30 to an astonishing 181. This sixfold increase is, however, not without its critics.
Environmental advocates raise flags about the synthetic nature of this grass. Their concerns revolve around the presence of microplastics, the chemical composition of the grass, and its potential to increase urban heat. Top among these concerns are the microplastic elements like crumb rubber, often derived from used tires, which deteriorate under the sun’s influence, releasing various chemicals.
Such is the concern that prominent environmental groups, like the Total Environment Centre and Ausmap, are urging authorities to pause and reconsider the rapid adoption of synthetic fields. They’ve found unsettling evidence that these fields shed vast amounts of microplastics, with a single stormwater sample from a Sydney turf field revealing up to 70,000 particles of rubber crumb.
Moreover, the heat generated by these fields in sunlight can be intense, with instances of children in Perth getting second-degree burns from simply walking on them. This raises questions about the practicality of synthetic turfs in regions that experience high temperatures.
However, it’s not all gloom. Synthetic grass’s resilience is noteworthy, enduring up to 60 hours of use a week, which is twice the capacity of natural turf. They also offer consistent play quality throughout the year.
But the environmental cost, coupled with potential health risks, raises crucial questions. As synthetic turf manufacturers pivot towards more eco-friendly materials, such as cork and engineered wood chips, the future of these fields in Australia remains a topic of hot debate. The hope is for a middle ground, where the environment doesn’t pay the price for our convenience.
- 8 Plants That Are Not Grass To Use for Low-Maintenance Lawns
- How to Convert a Lawn Into a Productive Garden
- 7 Reasons Weedy Lawns Are Better Than Fancy Grass
- Tips for Planning Your Garden Lawn
- What is an Herbal Lawn and How to Grow One
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
- Support Independent Media: Being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
- Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!