A few years ago, the US government funded a project that tested a variety of materials to determine which ones were effective in preventing soil erosion and water infiltration.
The results were shocking: the coating made for a cleaner environment, while the chemical products used to make them didn’t.
“That was pretty shocking to the general public,” said Dr Stephen Aylward, a professor at the University of Western Australia’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
“We don’t know what chemicals we’re using and how much they’re actually harmful to the environment.”
Dr Aylwards work on the project has led to a new range of coatings that are more environmentally friendly.
Photo: Peter Rae “It’s not the most environmentally friendly coatings we can use, but they’re a very good first step towards a cleaner future.”
Soils with chemical coatings were tested on five sites across the Great Barrier Reef, and all showed the same results: soil erosion slowed by up to 70 per cent, while water infiltration was reduced by 70 per cwt.
“This research shows that we have a lot to learn from our local environments,” Dr Avels said.
“The chemical industry has been using chemicals that are toxic to the marine environment, but that’s changed in recent years.”
We don’ need to be using toxic chemicals.
We have a long way to go to clean up our own environments.
“Dr Anthony Fenech, who has been working with Dr Aymard for the past 12 years, said the coating technology was not yet ready for prime time.
Photo of Anthony Fech, via Flickr.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about the chemical content of chemicals in the environment, and what’s actually going on in the oceans.””
In the chemical industry, we use chemicals in an industrial process to produce the final products,” he said.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about the chemical content of chemicals in the environment, and what’s actually going on in the oceans.”
It’s really important to get these things out of the lab and into the environment and understand what they’re doing.
“Dr Ayls study was funded by the US National Science Foundation.
The research was presented at the International Conference on Sustainable Development in London, on April 25.
“And that’s what we need to change.””
There’s no way of getting any data on what chemicals are used, because they’re not regulated, they’re just given out as a marketing tool,” he explained.
“And that’s what we need to change.”
A lot of environmental degradation is occurring because the people using the chemicals don’t have the knowledge, so we need an education on what they are.
“Because then we can make a real difference.””
If you can get more people interested in this research, and get them involved in environmental sustainability, then it’s going to have a huge impact on the environment in the long run,” he told the ABC.
“Because then we can make a real difference.”