Synthetic Turf and the Tragedy of the Commons in Moreland

Synthetic Turf has high embedded carbon footprint, ends up as waste in landfill
Synthetic Turf has high embedded carbon footprint, ends up as waste in landfill

Climate Action Moreland has done a literature review to highlight the general environmental, social and health issues with synthetic turf, and specific issues around a proposal to convert unfenced grass sporting fields at Hosken Reserve in Coburg North to a fenced synthetic soccer pitch. This is the text of our submission to the Moreland Council engagement consultants employed for public consultation to inform the Hosken Reserve Refresh project for Moreland Council.

We have also reported on our blog separately on synthetic turf carbon footprint and total life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, and on the impact synthetic turf will likely have on the urban heat island effect on local residents.

Conversion of natural grass to Synthetic turf at Hosken Reserve should be considered as a catalyst issue for opposing increasing synthetic turf generally in our municipality. We are also very concerned with increasing State Government funding of school oval conversions increasing heat stress risk for children and heating the local microclimate affecting both children and local residents, against expert advice. (See Madden, et al, 2018 (Cool Schools), Pfautsch et al, Sept 2020 (School Microclimates))

We acknowledge the work done by local Merlynston residents on this issue to Help Keep Hosken a place for Community in defence of their grassed open space which they have been quite willing to share the use of with Sporting Clubs as Commons space.

(more…)

April 11, 2021 at 4:46 pm 1 comment

How will Synthetic turf impact urban heat island and microclimate around Hosken Reserve?

2016-Alm-naturalgrass-vs-artificial-surface temps-HongKong

Synthetic turf surface temp heat profile compared to natural grass (Hong Kong) – Alm 2016

Adding a synthetic pitch to Hosken Reserve will increase the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE), reduce the Cool Park effect, and be felt mostly strongly by local residents. Artificial turf elevated temperatures will affect playability and heat stress to players, and not only in Summer but also for warm days in both Spring and Autumn when the temperature is elevated. Our Melbourne summers are getting longer.

For the most part it is local residents that would need to live with this permanent impact on increased microclimate temperatures over summer months and during warmer days in Spring and Autumn. Urban Heat island effect is more prominent during the night than during the day. This will likely increase evening energy use from air conditioners of local residents which will have a feedback of putting more heat back into the local environment.

Our temperature research at Hosken Reserve natural grass oval and Clifton Park synthetic pitch shows on a warm day (around 30C as per BOM records) the surface temperatures on the synthetic pitch are regularly 80-90 percent greater than natural grass, and may on occasion reach double the temperature of grass.

Moreland’s heat vulnerability is already at a high level, synthetic turf will contribute more heat when we need to be trying to cool our suburbs through green infrastructure. Moreland Council needs to find cooling solutions not exacerbate the problem with converting a much loved community shared grass oval to a fenced synthetic pitch.

Climate Action Moreland has had an interest for several years in urban heat island effect and how it is magnified by the rising temperatures of climate change and urban densification and development.  This post draws upon past literature reviews and a recent science literature survey associated with artificial surfaces and the urban heat island effect that formed part of our submission on the Hosken Refresh consultation.
(more…)

April 3, 2021 at 1:52 am 1 comment

Melbourne’s shrinking winter, expanding summer

Change in the season length with rising temperatures for Melbourne. Source: Australia Institute

The Australia Institute have researched the change in the season length for capital city and regional towns due to the rise in temperatures from Climate Change. Our winter seasons are shrinking, summer seasons are lengthening.

(more…)

April 3, 2021 at 12:35 am 1 comment

Moreland Council supports a Climate Disaster Levy

Climate Disater Levy on Fossil Fuel Exports

Moreland Council voted unanimously at the March 2021 Council Meeting to advocate to the Premier of Victoria to request his support and advocacy for a Federal Climate Disaster Levy, as proposed by The Australia Institute.

This was included in a Councillor nominated motion on Climate Risk and preparing the Council Plan. Assessing Climate risk and formulating climate policy directions to reduce emissions, and protect citizens, will be an important consideration as the new Council formulates its 4 year Council Plan.

There was also a report presented on draft zero carbon planning reforms that was supported by Council. The Design Excellence Scorecard trial will also continue to its conclusion in September 2021.

(more…)

March 11, 2021 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

Natural grass or Synthetic turf? What are the total life cycle emission profiles

Total life cycle analysis of synthetic turf GHG emissions

A local residents campaign in Moreland over conversion of a sporting oval in Hosken Reserve from natural grass to synthetic turf has stimulated debate on the impacts of supporting a fossil-fuel/plastics industry product for organised Sport and Recreation. Although there are many impacts of an oval conversion, the issue that concerns us greatly in Climate Action Moreland are the greenhouse gas emissions. We do have a climate emergency, which has been declared by Council in 2018.

A 2006 Canadian total life cycle emissions study found that a 9000m2 grass pitch would have a 10 year baseline carbon negative impact of minus 16.9 tonnes CO2e while the synthetic turf would generate 55.6 tonnes CO2e (Note: this study assumed -53t Co2e saving at end of life with full recycling – this would not occurr in Australia with most materials going to landfill). A 2017 Swedish total life cycle emissions study on a modelled 7881m2 synthetic field concluded GHG emissions would be 527 ton CO2e for a ten year period.

Update: A deeper reading of the 2017 consultants report to FIFA revealed that total life cycle emissions for a standard FIFA sized pitch may be up to 1500 tonnes CO2e. This comes from examining a graph of total life cycle green house gas emissions for synthetic turf with various infill and various end of life disposal in the report.
(more…)

February 28, 2021 at 11:26 pm 3 comments

Brunswick MP Tim Read raises slow state government climate action in Grievance Debate

Tim Read MP


Brunswick MP Tim Read highlighted the Victorian government’s slow response on climate during the Grievance Debate on 3 February 2021. This includes being a year overdue in announcing Victoria’s interim emissions reduction targets for 2025 and 2030 as required under the Climate Change Act.
(more…)

February 28, 2021 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

Australia wins at not honouring 1.5C climate commitment.

Australia wins not honouring the 1.5C commitment Fossil award

Australia took out an international award on the eve of the Climate Ambition international conference. But it is not an award to celebrate.

Australia was handed the international ‘Fossil Award’ for failing to honour our climate commitments under the Paris Accord. Five years ago Australia signed the Paris Agreement at the UN climate talks known as COP21. Australia even agreed to 1.5 degrees target inclusion in the Draft climate agreement.
(more…)

December 12, 2020 at 4:23 am Leave a comment

Time for a Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty

Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty


Climate Action Moreland has endorsed the international call for a Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty.

This is an initiative to phase-out fossil fuels and fast-track solutions.
(more…)

November 28, 2020 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Taking the temperature of Moreland Playgrounds and surfaces

Hot seat, hot synthetic surface. CB Smith Reserve

Summer is fast approaching and already we have had days with temperatures reaching into the low 30s Celsius degree level. Surfaces in Moreland heat up much more than the ambient temperatures.

This build up of heat in surfaces such as footpaths, roads, buildings, playground equipment and synthetic turf, contributes to the urban heat island effect, which tends to be much more pronounced in highly built up urban areas such as in Moreland.

Particularly notable is that synthetic surfaces have higher spot temperatures than either asphalt or concrete surfaces when all are in full sun.
(more…)

November 24, 2020 at 12:56 pm 3 comments

Climate Emergency toolkit for Councils launched

Local Government climate emergency toolkit


Former City of Moreland Councillor Dale Martin has authored a Local Government climate emergency toolkit, drawing upon his experience as a Councillor, and also consultation with other Councillors and community members (including with Climate Action Moreland).

The toolkit offers practical recommendations for how local governments (also known as city councils and local councils) can take immediate action to address the climate emergency.

It is written for local government councillors, Council officers and community members who want to take climate action.
(more…)

November 19, 2020 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Share

Petition Dan Andrews on Climate Emergency

Sign the petition to Premier Dan Andrews to declare an Ecological and climate emergency declaration

What Lies Beneath

Read David Spratt’s What Lies beneath:
Spratt-What Lies beneath-cover

Elephant in the Sky

New report on Aviation emissions and Australia, The Elephant in the Sky:
Carter-The-Elephant-in-the-Sky-cover

Climate Reality Check

Read David Spratt's Climate Reality Check:
20160316-Spratt-After-Paris-counting-the-cost-cover

Glasgow, Scotland COP26

UNFCCC climate conferenceNovember 1, 2021
6 months to go.

Follow Climate Action Moreland on Twitter

This is the current C02 in our atmosphere. We need to get it below 350 for a safe climate.

Current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere

Archives

Visitors to this site