18,000 pieces of plastic are estimated to float in every square kilometre of ocean.
633 species worldwide including 77 Australian species are impacted by marine debris.
Over 75% of what is removed from our beaches is made of plastic.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australian-wide not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris, one of the major environmental issues worldwide. But if all we do is clean-up, that is all we will ever do.
To successfully solve the problem, the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) was created, an on-ground network of volunteers, communities and organisations that contribute data from rubbish collected during beach and river clean-up events to the AMDI Database, and then work on solutions to stop the flow of litter at the source. The AMDI helps communities look after their coastal environment by providing resources and support programs, and collaborates with industry and government to create change on a large scale.
In Maori and Polynesian mythology, Tangaroa is the god of the ocean. 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..." When, after a week-long clean-up event, the whales and dolphins come close to our beach and slap their flippers, we sometimes wonder if it is Tangaroa saying "thank you".
Environmental groups have welcomed the State Government’s decision to introduce a Container Deposit Scheme (cash for containers) in Queensland in 2018, describing it as a great leap forward for litter reduction, recycling, environmental protection and a vital financial boost for community organisations interested in can and bottle collection.
‘Cash for containers is a proven scheme and will slash litter rates, increase recycling across the state, create hundreds of jobs in collection and re-processing and provide a financial boost to community organisations interested in collecting can and bottles.’ said Toby Hutcheon, spokesperson for the Boomerang Alliance and Wildlife Queensland
Only 9 months ago, Tangaroa Blue travelled to the very tip of our continent for the first time to clean up the iconic Five Beaches Loop near Somerset. After a 2-day break from our Captain Billy clean-up 2016, Tangaroa Blue and Conservation Volunteers Australia headed there again to remove what had washed up since September 2015.
With the camp set up at Australia’s northernmost camp ground Punsand Bay (the presence of running water and showers at the camp came like Christmas presents to the volunteers that had just spent a week at Captain Billy’s), the group travelled every day to Somerset, where we set up our data camp near the access to the chain of picturesque coves and rugged headlands that form the Five Beaches Loop. Giant red termite mounds fringed the rough 4WD track to the beaches where the team of 20 fanned out to collect the rubbish.
A number of environmental groups joined together with the Keppel Coast Arts Council’s Fig Tree Markets to launch a ‘Too Lovely to Litter’ campaign on Sunday 5 June for World Environment Day.
‘Too Lovely to Litter’ aimed to raise awareness about the environmental impacts that marine debris has on our coastal and marine wildlife.
The idea for this event emerged after Capricornia Catchments’ Project Officer Shelly McArdle was approached by Julie Robertson of Wildlife Rockhampton after a particularly harrowing failed rescue attempt of a local seabird that had ingested debris. In considering how to reduce these incidents, the idea was explored further at a recent Source Reduction Workshop hosted by Tangaroa Blue, Livingstone Shire Council and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. This workshop saw a number of stakeholders come together to discuss local marine debris concerns with a view to identifying ways to mobilise community to stop this debris ending up on our beaches in the first place. The result was the formation of an organising committee that set about planning this World Environment Day event.
Today Tangaroa Blue volunteers reached a huge milestone - the 6 millionth item was recorded into the Australian Marine Debris Database!! The lucky debris item was collected by the crew on MV Bahama while they were visiting Lizard Island. A huge thank you to everyone that has submitted data to the AMDI Database, not only is our environment 6 million items cleaner, but you have provided a huge amount of evidence that government, industry and community are using to create change that stops the flow of rubbish into our oceans! Thank you to everyone!!!