18,000 pieces of plastic are estimated to float in every square kilometre of ocean.
276 species worldwide including 77 Australian species are impacted by marine debris.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation focused on the health of our marine environment, and coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, an on-ground network of volunteers, communities, organisations and agencies around the country monitoring the impacts of marine debris along their stretch of coastline.
In Maori and Polynesian mythology, Tangaroa is one of the great gods, the god of the ocean. He is the son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, Sky and Earth. Tangaroa is the father of many sea creatures and his breaths are the tides. Tangaroa made laws to protect the ocean and its sea creatures "Tiaki mai i ahau, maku ano koe e tiaki"... If you look after me, then I will look after you..."
The organisation was named Tangaroa Blue Foundation to highlight the importance of protecting our oceans and creating programs and resources to help communities look after their local coastal environment.
Clean up groups and environment organisations in Queensland have welcomed today's announcement that the State Government will investigate a container deposit scheme for Queensland. This is a first step towards the development of a scheme and meets an election promise by the government. The move also allows the state to collaborate with NSW who plan to introduce a container deposit scheme in mid- 2017.
'Queensland is the most littered state in Australia with plastic bottles and plastic packaging representing the bulk of that litter. Recycling is also at a low ebb with the state missing out on significant employment creation opportunities,' said Toby Hutcheon of the Boomerang Alliance, on behalf of the joint groups.
'Litter, particularly plastics, is not only an eyesore it's deadly to wildlife. Thousands of sea birds die in Queensland every year whilst studies show that 30% of all turtle mortalities in Moreton Bay are due to plastic ingestion. Queenslanders don't want their state to be known as the 'rubbish state'.
Volunteers from Macmasters Beach Surf Club spent their morning on Wednesday the 6th of May surveying foreshore areas for litter density. The volunteers covered specific areas from Kincumber Creek and Empire Bay through to Yattalunga.
The survey identified areas that had reasonably low levels of litter, to areas that included very high levels of debris. In one particular area that was surveyed, over 100 oyster trays were found, which is unfortunately a familiar story for Clean4Shore volunteers.
The Clean4Shore program has already conducted countless litter cleanups within the Gosford area, removing hundreds of kilos of debris from local waterways. This survey will help the program participants focus their efforts, and will allow them to target priority sites for future foreshore cleanup activities.
Staff and students at St Bernard's Santa Monica campus combined with Parks Victoria this month to undertake a huge clean up along some of Victoria's most remote coastline. Together we covered more than 15km of wild ocean beaches and rock shelves to the immediate east and west of Cape Otway. The stretch to the east of the lighthouse – from Parker River to Crayfish Bay, was relatively clean, as it is less open to the swell, but to the west, Station Beach and Aire River mouth yielded a huge amount of debris. Most notable was the amount of synthetic rope caught on the rocks to the west of the river mouth and the large plastic spools and buoys that were lodged high on the rock shelves. We also collected more than 2500 pieces of small plastic, none bigger than a 20 cent piece. The clean up was an epic effort by the students, conducted over two days. We intend to return to this area every couple of months to keep on top of the rubbish washed up onto these otherwise pristine beaches.
When category 5 Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit the Capricorn Coast near Rockhampton on February 20th 2015, it not only did extensive damage to countless houses, infrastructure and surrounding bushland, but also washed huge amounts of rubbish into the ocean and then dumped it back onto beaches, together with other ocean borne debris.
Last week, whilst cyclone-stricken residents are still focussing on getting back on track, seven crew members from Tangaroa Blue and eight Indigenous rangers from around Queensland headed down to assist in the clean-up effort, specifically targeting the enormous amount of marine debris that has been washed up along beaches near Yeppoon.