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".
Passionate about Plastic Pollution? Want to start a PhD in 2017? Qualified applicants (see page 2) are invited to apply to join our amazing team!
Eurobodalla Shire Council has risen to the occasion in minimising the environmental impacts of balloons by banning their release at council events and in council-managed reserves.
Mayor Liz Innes put forward the recommendation to council in a Mayoral Minute at today’s meeting.
Approximately 95 per cent of released balloons burst in the atmosphere and litter small pieces of plastic to the earth. The remaining five per cent do not reach a high enough altitude to burst and instead drift hundreds of kilometres before descending to land or sea.
Cr Innes said balloons caused significant harm to the natural environment, including to marine life.
“I congratulate this council for stepping up and defending our environment,” Cr Innes said. “We’re challenging other councils to follow our lead.
“This proactive approach will ensure that Eurobodalla’s Shire’s natural environment, for which the South Coast is renowned, does not contribute to balloon litter here or across the world.”
During the Western Australian Beach Clean-up event in October 2016, two bunker oil bottles were discovered in the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park by volunteers. The following week, another two bottles were found in the same region by Margaret River locals. The oil bottles were still intact, full of marine fuel oil and with labels on them listing a vessel name, date and crew members’ names.
Heidi Taylor, Managing Director of Tangaroa Blue Foundation said, “Volunteers provided photos and location details which we were able to quickly report to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) for potential investigation. This highlights the value of citizen scientists’ observations while out in the field, our volunteers are not rubbish collectors, but part of a national marine debris CSI team.”
AMSA personnel were able to track the vessel, the “Gloria Island” a bulk carrier registered in Panama, down and board whilst alongside at Thevenard in South Australia. Both the Master and Chief Engineer of the vessel were questioned at length and could not provide any explanation as to how the oil sample bottles made their way overboard. The vessel’s processes regarding bunker oil sampling were also reviewed.
As a leading expert in addressing the marine debris issue, Tangaroa Blue Foundation is coordinating Source Reduction Plan workshops in seven council regions around Port Phillip Bay in 2017 (see more details below). You are invited to participate in this exciting project to tackle marine debris & litter at the source.
Cleaning up areas like beaches, waterways, streets and parks is essential to reduce the impacts of marine debris & litter, but this is only a Band-Aid approach to what has become a major environmental issue worldwide. “If all we do is clean-up, that’s all we’ll ever do” - Heidi Taylor, Tangaroa Blue Foundation. The only way of making a real change is analysing where the litter & debris comes from, and finding ways of stopping it ending up in our ocean and rivers in the first place - a Source Reduction Plan.
Join us in 2017 to help find ways to stop the flow of rubbish into Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River.