Our friends at National Parks Australia gave us this summary on importance of weed hygiene.
Weeds cost Queensland more than $600 million annually in lost production, land degradation and control. Weeds threaten our natural environment by replacing native plants and reducing critical resources needed for native animals.
Weeds change how native habitats respond to, and recover from, natural disasters such as drought, fire and floods. This leads to reduced biodiversity and promotes more frequent catastrophic impacts. Our enjoyment of natural areas is under threat from these invaders. They reduce the visual amenity and choke waterways, tracks and trails, making it difficult to access natural areas.
Many weed species present a risk to human health. Some have large thorns, posing a risk of cuts, punctures and abrasions. Weeds like Parthenium cause asthma and other respiratory problems and many others are poisonous to humans and animals.
Weeds can even affect the quality of our drinking water and in a country where water is a limited resource, this is a major concern for all Australians. Reducing the spread of weeds is an important way everyone can help to reduce the weed threat. By taking few simple steps we can reduce the risk of introducing weeds into other areas.
What We Can Do
- Clean all equipment when leaving and prior to visiting a natural area. It is important to pay special attention to areas where there are hollows and lips such as under bike seats and the centre of wheel forks. Even the smallest piece of mud or dirt can contain weed seeds.
- Select clothing which does not have folds, velcro, or big pockets where weed seeds can be trapped. Brush down with a small hand brush before leaving an area and wash backpacks and cloths in water above 60C after each trip.
- Try not to ride or walk through weed patches, where possible go around them rather than through them.
- Learn to spot common weeds in the areas you visit and use regularly.