Posted on 18th October 2019 by Media Relations
This week is National Water Week – a week to inspire individuals, communities and businesses across Australia to work together to build awareness around the value of water. Rivers, lakes and streams are the lifeblood of the country and many native wildlife including the Platypus rely on a healthy waterway to survive. Sadly, our freshwater systems are experiencing a serious threat to their health from pollution from litter. Further, pollution from freshwater systems ultimately ends up in our oceans and beaches where they cause harm to marine animals such as turtles, seals and penguins. Around Australia, we are also experiencing the impacts of drought and a lack of precipitation. Unfortunately, this trend is anticipated to worsen due to climate change.
What we're doing
To mitigate the use of precious potable water and become more resilient, Taronga Zoo Sydney focuses on recycling wastewater on site for reuse, training its employees on water efficiency, using less water through sustainable building design, using WELS certified fixtures, purchasing appliances with a minimum 4 Star water rating and selecting native drought tolerant vegetation as much as possible.
Taronga has taken important steps to reduce its impact on climate change to date and increasingly there is a strong focus on climate change adaptation to plan for and deal with water insecurity, as well as other uncertainties arising from climate change.
What you can do
One of the best ways to protect our precious freshwater ecosystems is to reduce the amount of litter entering our waterways. By keeping litter out of our lakes, rivers and streams, we are helping to minimise impacts on iconic native animals such as the Platypus. Further, the litter in river and lakes eventually ends up on our beaches and in our oceans.
Once used and discarded, single-use plastic products can last for hundreds of years in the environment. It is estimated that there are 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans and everyday millions more enter our waterways and oceans. We have all seen the devastating impacts that single-use plastic products are having on marine animals. Every year, the Taronga Wildlife Hospital receives around 40 marine turtles, most with plastic ingestion or plastic related injuries.
To help reduce single-use plastics from entering our freshwater ecosystems, Taronga Conservation Society Australia has developed step-by-step toolkits to help businesses and schools go litter free. Click HERE to download your free toolkit.