A tide of Green Plastic is moving over Sydney’s local parks and ovals with natural turf being replaced with plastic synthetic fields all over the metropolitan area.
An unregulated synthetic turf industry has had an intensive marketing strategy that “informs,“ ”trains” council staff and sporting associations of the necessity of synthetic turf to supply current and future sporting infrastructure.
This tide over Sydney has seen no need for any independent scientific verification of their claims or actual evidential investigation of enviromental, social and economic consequences.
Your local park’s green plastic oval will be fenced, curbed with no food and drink allowed, no marquis or folding chairs allowed, no dog walking and by its very nature of not being a natural green space, too hot to walk in warmer daylight hours (these fields are up to 30 degrees hotter than grass); are therefore not usable for passive recreation. The hard synthetic ovals are unsuitable for other contact sports. The observational reality of synthetic fields is they effectively become exclusively soccer real estate.
As an impermeable plastic layer they extinguish any biology (insect, bird life), increase flood risks with no cooling transpirational effects of natural grass. They are a local heat pump to the surrounding areas. They contain the “forever chemical” PFAS and along with the microplastics, these drain into the local waterways and surrounds. There is no “mitigation” strategy currently devised that can prevent this.
The cost of these synthetic ovals is usually about double the newest natural turf alternatives (our local costing is $3.6 million + GST). Ovals of plastic turf rolls, unrecyclable, go to landfill every 8-10 years when they need to be replaced.
This is what happens to synthetic fields – Tempe Recreation Reserve 22/2/2023
Worn-out artificial turf fields pose huge waste problems – to landfill, no recycling
There are many new natural turf construction, cultivar, options that are providing the increased usage needed (31 in Penrith giving 50-60 hours) but this is not what has been promoted by the marketing.
So we need help !
The chief scientist has just done an investigation into synthetic turf in sporting infrastructure and we want this information to inform the use of synthetic turf in council decision-making , getting some science and independence into decision-making.
Unfortunately despite 2 years after asking for this, our council seems to be deaf to any other pathway so we are going to challenge them legally.
This requires funds and donations, we need financial help.
So please if you do not want to see your local oval turned to plastic, exclusive, costly real estate, donate to our legal challenge currently underway.
NATURAL GRASS AT NORMAN GRIFFITHS OVAL (A Community Association)
To read more about the real concerns with synthetic fields:
- Artificial turf potentially linked to cancer death of six Phillies ball players (The Guardian)
- Plastic grass isnt green – the problem with artificial turf (Environmental Defence)
- Athletic playing fields– Selecting Safer Alternatives (TURI)