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.
At Bundaberg West State School, our Green Team has aimed to reduce the amount of rubbish in our school grounds. We started the year with a campaign called "Bitter about Litter".
Here is an outline of what we have done this year –
• We did an audit of the rubbish in our school by emptying bins and sorting the rubbish. We tallied the rubbish and found that most of it was plastic; including lunch wrap, bags, straw covers and food packets.
Disposable drink bottles topped the list of rubbish collected by students at Old Bar Beach this month as part of an education project undertaken by Hunter Local Land Services to raise awareness of marine debris.
Students from Old Bar Public School collected a total of 80kg debris including 219 glass and plastic bottles, and aluminium cans from a 1km stretch of shoreline.
Plastic shopping, ice and dog poo bags, along with cigarette butts, and plastic food packaging also scored high on the list of items removed.
The year 4/5 class went down to Wonga Beach and conducted a beach clean-up with the aid of a group of enthusiastic parents and Zoey from Tangaroa Blue. We collected almost 1000 pieces of rubbish from the beach between Old Wonga and Pinnacle Village. Almost half the rubbish consisted of pieces of broken plastic that had washed up. We even found a safety helmet!
Back at the carpark we loaded all the rubbish into the ute and took it back to school to see what we could create with the flotsam and jetsam. Jayne volunteered her time and glue to work with the kids to create a wonderful Rubbish Rainbow and a yet to be named bird that are now on display in the foyer of the school. Come and check out what magnificent art can be created from rubbish.
More than 150,000,000 pieces of rubbish are strewn upon Australia's beaches, big news considering more than 80% of Australians live within 100km of the coast. Alarmed by this overwhelming statistic, Phoenix Organics has joined forces with Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines to create The Love Project. This project aims to empower Aussies to vote and help clean up and protect our much-loved coastlines.
Australians can visit Phoenix's Facebook page to vote for the beach they love the most and would like to keep clean. The Phoenix Love Project has contributed $40,000 to Sustainable Coastlines and Tangaroa Blue Foundation to complete beach cleanup projects over the summer months.