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.
Our latest clean-up on Coconut Beach in the Daintree national park was a day in paradise. 14 volunteers (some of them left home at 5.30 am to make it to the event!) swarmed out on this this clear cool winter's day to collect what they could on this tropical beach in Far North QLD.
The biggest reward for the lucky finder was an almost new fishing rod. Otherwise 21 bags and 178 kg were removed after we only cleaned this beach 6 months ago!
It was rewarding to see how keen the crew of a local resort was to learn the data entry to conduct regular clean-ups on their own stretch of beach in the future. But the euphoric vibe came with a twist: We found an unusual number of balloons and dug out a giant pile of plastic wrap, filling over 2 bags and weighing some 60+ kg alone! With so much plastic floating around you wonder what it does to the wildlife.
The sixth Darwin Harbour Clean-Up saw over 150 people working across eight sites on land and eight on the water, with 18 boats working around the Harbour on June 26th.
“This year an estimated total of 1.2 tonne of rubbish was collected, with some of the top items including 3,300 cigarettes butts, 3,132 metres of fishing line, 1,656 bits of broken hard plastic, 9 shopping trolleys and 13 lost or abandoned recreational crab pots,” said Northern Territory Seafood Council, Project Officer, Ms Lyn Lambeth.
Last week 3 volunteers from Brisbane Waters Secondary College the Croft, Hornsby Council and Greater Sydney Local Land Services responded to community reports of high levels of marine debris following storm events. As part of the Clean4Shore Program, the team boarded an oyster barge to transport them to the sites on Dangar Island and Long Island along the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales. An estimated 300 kg of marine debris was removed from the sites, items included surf skis, inflatable boats, plastic drums, oyster products, car tyres, plastic bottles and even a leather lounge chair. The community were thankful to the group for their hard work in removing the items. Many small bulk items still remain at the sites, last year 3.5 tonnes of marine debris was removed from the area, it is feared that the storms have brought in another influx of similar magnitude.
Cape York is one of Australia's marine debris hotspots, and a challenging environment to work in. Over the past week, Tangaroa Blue and a team from Conservation Volunteers Australia have managed to remove debris from some ten kilometres of beach at Captain Billy's Landing. This has been achieved with the assistance of volunteers, indigenous rangers from the Apudthama Land & Sea Rangers and staff from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.