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Going Green Perth’s Environmental Plans to Save Its Future

Going Green: Perth’s Environmental Plans to Save Its Future 

Environmental issues are among the most serious challenges we face in Perth today. We, locals, are concerned about the city’s worsening environmental situation, like its impending water crisis, and are moved to make a change.

In this article, we will discuss the current state of Perth’s environment, the leading causes of its degradation, and what we can do to resolve these issues.

A Brief Summary of Perth’s Environmental Situation

A Brief Summary of Perth’s Environmental Situation

According to a report published by the Environmental Protection Authority, Western Australia’s rapid growth has placed immense pressure on its natural resources.

The state’s economy is dependent on the mining and oil industries. The continued growth of these industries has increased the amount of pollutants generated around Perth.

The Perth metropolitan area is beginning to feel the effects of the state’s worsening environmental situation. The city’s dwindling water supply and increasing average temperatures are some of the biggest problems it faces today.

Overall, the current situation isn’t great. We must intensify our efforts to mitigate these damages before they spiral out of control.

The Current Threats to Perth’s Environmental Stability

So what are the biggest threats that currently plague Perth’s environmental stability? Here are some of the problems highlighted by the report from the Environmental Protection Authority.

Biodiversity Loss

Biodiversity Loss

Biodiversity loss is the decline of a variety of living beings in an area. This is a phenomenon you probably regularly read about or see in the news almost every day.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the five biggest causes of biodiversity loss are overexploitation, habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and invasive species.

When it comes to Perth and Western Australia, the biggest cause of biodiversity loss is overexploitation. Perth is one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia, and its demands have grown exponentially as a result.

Biodiversity Loss 2

EPA WA has stated that the state currently has 369 species of plants and 199 species of animals that are facing the threat of extinction.

Perth’s land reclamation efforts to support its growth have also posed a significant threat to the biodiversity of local wildlife. Most of the city is built on swampy wetlands, which support one of the world’s most diverse reptilian populations.

Nowadays, it is estimated that only 10% of the city’s wetlands remain. This has led to a sharp decline in Perth’s reptile population, including the now-endangered western swamp tortoise.

Air Pollution

Air Pollution

The Air Quality Index currently indicates that Perth’s air quality is good. It isn’t as bad as some cities around the world, but the EPA has brought it up as a cause for concern due to some recent developments.

As expected, Perth’s rapid growth is one of the leading causes of its air pollution. The city is unable to catch up with the rapid increase in car ownership among its residents.

The massive increase in car usage has led to a spike in traffic congestion, which is one of the primary causes of Perth’s deteriorating air quality. The city’s current infrastructure can’t keep up with the high number of cars plying the roads every day.

Another development we need to discuss is the growing mining industry in Western Australia. The extraction of precious minerals like gold releases harmful chemicals into the air, like sulphur dioxide.

As the state’s mining industry continues to grow in the coming years, so will the amount of harmful chemicals in the air we breathe.

Worsening Water Quality

Worsening Water Quality

Perth’s water supply is one of the most affected natural resources of the city by the ongoing climate change and population growth.

The ongoing climate change has affected most of Perth’s natural water sources, as it lessens the chance of rainfall occurring in the region. Dams and groundwater aren’t being replenished enough to meet the city’s current demand.

My city will need to be more creative in finding solutions to its water problem. Water Corporation, the primary supplier of potable water to the city, predicts a further 40% decrease in rainfall in the region by 2060.

Furthermore, Perth’s rapid population growth has led to an exponential rise in the city’s water demand. More and more of the city’s aquifers are being consumed in order to meet the city’s water needs.

Waste Generation

Waste Generation

Perth’s continued growth has also led to a rise in its waste generation. Western Australia’s Waste Authority reported that the state generated 9% more waste between the years 2019 and 2020.

A huge portion of the waste generated came from Perth’s expansion. 51% of the total waste came from construction and demolition projects.

It’s expected that the state’s waste generation will continue to grow throughout the in coming years as its population continues to rise.

Climate Change

Climate Change

Climate change continues to worsen the living conditions in many cities around the world. The melting of the polar ice caps has led to a significant rise in sea levels, which poses a huge threat to coastal cities like Perth.

The chances of flash floods are now pretty high in the city. It’s no longer unusual for us to hear news of some streets in the coastal suburbs experiencing heavy flooding after an occasional heavy storm.

However, the most noticeable effect of climate change in Perth is the city’s rising average temperatures. Reports on WA climate projections say that the city experiences temperatures above 35°C 28 days a year.

Even more worrying, though, is that it is expected that this phenomenon will become more prevalent in the coming years. The number of days with temperatures above 35°C in Perth will increase to 36 days by 2030 and 63 days by 2090.

This has led to fears that Perth’s climate will become hotter and drier in the coming decades.

The Key Players in Perth and Their Roles to Save Its Environment

Now that we’ve discussed Perth’s environmental situation, we will now talk about the key players in the city who can help resolve its issues.

The Governments of Perth and Western Australia

Perth’s local government units are important in resolving my city’s worsening environmental situation. These organisations wield the power necessary to enact solutions to tackle most environmental issues.

Unfortunately, the national government is slow to introduce reforms to resolve the said problems. Alternative energy solutions are still heavily debated in parliament.

Thankfully, the same can’t be said when it comes to the local government of Perth. Our city has launched several initiatives to reduce the city’s overconsumption of resources through a number of programs.

Western Australia is also keen on protecting the environment through some monumental programs. One of its programs is funding feasibility studies for the construction of massive wind farms across the state.

The NGOs and Communities in Perth

I am proud to say that Perth has a number of active organisations and movements committed to protecting the city’s natural beauty. Most of the city’s remaining nature parks and bushlands are maintained for free by the kindhearted residents of Perth.

One of Perth’s most involved organisations is the Urban Bushland Council WA Inc. This is an association of community groups and is one of the biggest groups advocating for the protection of Perth’s bushlands.

Other environmental organisations in the city are the Conservation Council of WA and the Wilderness Society of WA Inc.

These environmental groups encourage Perth’s residents to get involved by educating them about the current state of the city’s environmental situation and holding large events like clean-up drives around the city.

I volunteer in these programs, such as the Sunday Busy Bees clean-up held every second Sunday of the month by the Friends of Lake Claremont.

Private Companies Like Environmental Technology Solutions’

Private Companies Like Environmental Technology Solutions’

The use of science and technology has always been one of mankind’s best solutions to any challenges it faces. Here in Perth, the local government and businesses have introduced new technologies to help save the environment. 

Some of the most well-known technological innovations implemented in the city are wastewater recycling and the installation of solar panels in the tallest structures in Perth.

One of the businesses taking the lead in this sector is Environmental Technology Solutions.

The company has recently installed modified exhaust systems for the St. Barbara Mining facility. These systems can convert waste heat to power the facility’s cooling systems.

This project and several others are some of the first key steps taken to transform Perth into a fully sustainable city.

What are some of the initiatives launched by Perth and its residents to save its environment?

Some of Perth’s most notable initiatives for the environment are its commitment to recycling 70% of its total waste and the Urban Forest Strategy.

We will discuss these and more in detail in the following sections below.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions

A lot of Perth’s environmental groups are the most involved when it comes to preserving the city’s biodiversity.

Groups like the Urban Bushland Council of WA Inc. are dedicated to preserving the remaining wetlands and bushlands of Perth. A lot of these organisations regularly launch clean-up drives to keep the city’s nature parks clean from pollution.

Western Australia has also established the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions to handle the government’s efforts in preserving the state’s remaining wildlife.

This department manages important institutions like the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA). The BGPA is responsible for maintaining the biodiversity in Kings Park and its botanic garden.

Perth’s Urban Forest Plan

Perth’s Urban Forest Plan

To counter the rising air pollution levels in the city, Perth’s government launched the Urban Forest Plan. This project aims to turn Perth into a green city by holding tree planting programs everywhere in the city.

I actually saw the results of this program in St. Georges Terrace. A lot of the trees planted along the street made walking through it cooler and more comfortable.

The city council recently approved plans to build more EV charging stations across the city. It’s hoped that these charging stations will entice people to switch to more eco-friendly electric vehicles.

Another project I am excited to see is the development of better car parks throughout Perth. These parking lots are integrated into wayfinding apps to help drivers find a suitable parking spot in the shortest time possible, reducing carbon emissions.

Water Recycling and Desalination 

Water Recycling and Desalination

The city’s natural water supply continues to run low with every passing year. Perth is employing modern technological solutions in order to address this looming threat.

Some of the biggest sources of water for Perth right now are desalination plants. According to the Water Corporation, more than 1/3 of the city’s water supply is provided by two desalination plants near the city.

Water recycling is another method used to help supply the city’s water needs. The Water Corporation is committed to recycling at least 30% of Perth’s wastewater by 2030.

The recycled water is used for toilet flushing, wetland maintenance, and irrigation of non-food crops.

The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030

The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030

To reduce the waste generated by the city, the Waste Authority has launched programs to improve Perth’s ability to recover most of its waste.

New materials recovery facilities are being built to help facilitate Perth’s and Western Australia’s target to divert 70% of their generated waste away from landfills by 2025.

The city government is also offering recycling education programs to businesses and communities. These programs train us to separate recyclable products from biodegradable waste.

Most businesses in the city have also started selling most of their products in reusable packaging. I keep most of this packaging to help me store some items I don’t regularly use.

The Clean Energy Future Fund

The Clean Energy Future Fund

One of the biggest programs in Western Australia to help fight climate change is the Clean Energy Future Fund. This fund aims to incentivize private groups to provide viable clean energy solutions for the state, like solar energy.

Meanwhile, the city government of Perth has also introduced new programs to lessen the city’s carbon emissions. Most of the streetlights in the city are now using energy-efficient LED lights, and new EV charging stations are being built in the city.

Western Australia hopes that it will become a net-zero emission state by 2050. I hope that these solutions will be the first major step towards achieving the said goal.

How effective are Perth’s programs and solutions in saving its environment?

How effective are Perth’s programs and solutions in saving its environment

It’s too early to say for now if Perth’s programs and solutions to save its environment are highly effective. Most of the programs we’ve discussed in this article only started a few years ago.

However, it’s unfair to say that they are worthless or ineffective. Some programs like the restoration of bushlands and wetlands are successful.

The revitalisation program conducted at Lake Claremont is one of the biggest success stories of these programs.

The organisation Friends of Lake Claremont successfully restored the dead lake into a vibrant nature space that’s now home to more than 100 species of birds.

Stories like this give me hope that Perth can improve its environment. However, it’s only possible as long as its people remain committed to saving the environment.

What can I do specifically as an individual to help save Perth’s environment?

It’s actually very easy to do something to help save Perth’s environment. Whether you’re a resident of the city or a tourist currently visiting Perth, here are some easy tips I can give you:

Always carry a reusable bag before going outThis tip is very useful, especially if you’re doing a grocery run. A reusable bag allows you to easily carry your groceries without the need to ask for a paper or plastic bag from the counter.
Turn off electricity or water when not in useThis is probably a tip you’ve already heard numerous times since you were at school. Never leave the room with the lights still on, and make sure the faucet is off while you’re brushing your teeth.
Ride the public transportation as much as you canWhile driving a car can be the most comfortable way of getting around the city, it generates too much smoke and noise pollution. Riding the train or bus instead helps the city reduce its carbon emissions.
Recycle or reuse whatever you canHere’s another tip you’ve probably already heard many times before: recycling is one of the best ways you can reduce your generated waste. Don’t throw away recyclable stuff; instead, collect them and give them to the nearest recycling facility near you.
Volunteer at clean-up drives in your areaOne of the best tips I can give you is to be active in any clean-up projects in your area. These projects are one of the most effective ways to keep a place free of pollution.
Keep your trash in your pocket or bagDon’t litter. If there’s no rubbish bin available near you, keep your trash in your pocket or bag first until you find one.
Educate your friends and familyEnvironmental protection works better if everyone is on board with it. Always educate your friends and family on ways they can help improve the environmental situation in the city.

FAQS about Perth’s Environment

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