A matting system will be trialled at the Bargara Turtle Playground to mitigate microplastic pollution from soft fall “rubber crumbs” as Council continues to work towards a permanent solution.
Much of the soft fall common in modern playgrounds consists of reused tyres to create a product which meets the required safety specifications under the Australian Standards for impact attenuation.
However new research has shown the tendency for this product to disintegrate over time, leading to what is termed rubber crumb which can end up in the ocean.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said Bundaberg Regional Council was committed to finding a solution to rubber crumb but public safety in playgrounds was a priority.
“Council’s parks team has been actively working towards finding a solution to address rubber crumb,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“In consultation with industry and Councils throughout the state we are yet to find a suitable permanent solution which would also adequately protect children from risk of injury.”
Rubber crumb has become more apparent at the Turtle Playground in recent years and has increasingly required additional maintenance and repairs.
Mayor Dempsey said the matting system would be installed over the top of most of the existing soft fall at the Turtle Playground from next week and would considerably reduce the amount of potential rubber crumb.
“We will continue to investigate alternative solutions to protect our marine environment and our community members and visitors who use our playgrounds.
“With the matting system in place the Turtle Playground will have a slightly different look and feel but it’s important we do what we can to mitigate the risk of microplastics entering the ocean.”
Playground temporarily closed for works
The Bargara Turtle Playground will be temporarily closed from Monday 30 January 2023 to allow for the safe installation of the matting system.
The amenities block will remain accessible during this work.
Weather permitting, the playground is expected to reopen by mid-February.
More about the matting system being trialled:
The playground surface being trialled is Play Matta.
It will see a containment layer placed over the soft fall which will then be topped with tiles made from recycled materials.