Media Release 17 May 2021, from Councillor Phil Bradley, City of Parramatta.
Parramatta Council is planning to replace real grass with synthetic grass in four of its parks - and the Parramatta Greens are sounding the alarm.
Greens Councillor Phil Bradley says fake grass is much hotter and is bad for the environment.
“Synthetic turf parks are made from non-recyclable plastic and shed microplastics,” Councillor Bradley says. “We can’t let them be rolled out across Parramatta.”
The council is planning to lay synthetic grass on playing fields at Old Saleyards Reserve in North Parramatta, Acacia Park in Telopea, FS Garside Park in Granville and Robin Thomas Reserve in Parramatta.
Research done by Dr Sebastian Pfautsch at Western Sydney University has shown that on hot summer days, artificial grass and soft-fall rubber surfaces can reach temperatures up to 50 degrees higher than real grass. Meanwhile, other research by the Australian Microplastic Assessment Project with Northern Beaches Council has found that in areas with these synthetic grass fields, 80 per cent of the waste entering stormwater drains is recycled tyre rubber crumb used for the base and microplastics from synthetic fields, compared to five per cent elsewhere.
Councillor Bradley says Parramatta Council should be reducing the amount of waste entering waterways, not adding to it.
“We have recently seen worrying research which found disturbing levels of microplastics in supermarket-bought rice,” he says. “This is clear evidence of the need to minimise microplastic entry into our ecosystems. We should help to reduce this problem by not allowing buildings to overshadow parks and then arguing that the struggling natural grass needs to be replaced with fake plastic turf, which is much hotter, more expensive and flammable.”
Franceska Strano, Greens candidate for Parramatta Council’s Rosehill Ward, believes fake grass is a “terrible solution”.
“We should be looking to integrate natural greenery and vegetation into our community spaces to reduce the heat and give our city kids natural and safe places to play in,” she says. “That is what they deserve and makes for a healthy and thriving community.
“Kids who grow up in high-rise apartments depend on these community green spaces. Every kid should be able to go and play on real grass and play under real trees.”
Hayley Coghlan is one of a group of Granville residents concerned about Parramatta Council’s plans for FS Garside Park.
“This little green area has come under a lot of pressure,” Ms Coghlan says. “Granville’s so post-industrial that there’s almost no green space.”
She says the residents’ group want the Council to build a bridge across Parramatta Road, save the mature-age trees around the park and keep the real grass on the oval.
“They said that they would be synthetically turfing it to make it safer for the community and better for longevity of the fields and all of this stuff,” she says. “We were like, ‘Yeah, we think you’re just trying to save money on mowing the lawn.’
“We already know Western Sydney is 10 degrees hotter than the eastern suburbs. We’re really starting to feel it as the summers roll on. Do the right thing.”
NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes has called for an investigation into sustainable alternatives to synthetic grass. As well, Councillor Bradley has suggested that Parramatta Council do a report into the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic fields, and the Council has supported this suggestion.
“I believe that these reports will find in favour of natural grass,” Councillor Bradley says.
For more information, please contact:
Councillor Phil Bradley on 0425 265 170
Franceska Strano on 0422 444 324 or franceska.strano**at**gmail.com
Ernest Jilg on 0467 581 720 or ernest.jilg**at**gmail.com