Marine Debris

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".

Operation Clean Sweep Australia

Preventing marine debris is all about stopping it at the source. We are proud to have launched Operation Clean Sweep in Australia and would like to share with you our latest video showcasing how one of the first companies to sign up to the program in Australia has implemented it into their operations. A huge thank you to Co-Ex Films, Streamline Media Australia, the Victorian Government's Litter Hotspot Program and the Western Australian Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program WA.

Waste & marine debris in remote northern Australian communities

NESPMany Cape York Peninsula (CYP) communities are growing in size, receiving increasing numbers of visitors, and dealing with increasing marine debris washing up on their beaches. A Northern Hub project investigated municipal waste and marine debris management issues in three communities. Tangaroa Blue along with Cape York AMDI partners were able to contribute data and information to assist in this research project. 

See the Publications Tab at: http://www.nespnorthern.edu.au/projects/nesp/waste-and-marine-debris-in-remote-northern-australian-communities/

Final Report - http://www.nespnorthern.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Waste-marine-debris-final-report.pdf

Factsheet - http://www.nespnorthern.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Waste-marine-debris-wrap-up-factsheet.pdf


10 601 Plastic Bottles Sitting on Mapoon Beach

201701 MapoonFrom Monday 10th July until Friday 14th July, a small army of Tangaroa Blue volunteers ran an impressive clean-up mission set against the stunning backdrop of Back Beach, Mapoon in Cape York.

The team comprised 14 volunteers including some local regulars, others who travelled interstate from as far as Christmas Island and a team from the Clean4Shore program and Macmasters Beach Surf Club in central NSW. Tangaroa Blue worked in conjunction with the Traditional Owners of the land and were lent a great deal of help by the Mapoon Land & Sea Rangers. Working side by side the Indigenous Rangers was a particularly rewarding aspect of the operation for many of the volunteers.

In five warm and windy days, the joint effort clocked 6.7 kilometres of beach, amassing a staggering 2.2 tonnes of debris. The big ticket item was quite clearly plastic drink bottles. The 10 601 bottles retrieved accounted for nearly a quarter of the total items collected; the main culprit being the Indonesian water brand Aqua, which totalled 3875 bottles alone. Many of the volunteers have vowed never to purchase plastic drink bottles again.

Other notable statistics include the collection of 5607 pieces of polystyrene foam, 2823 thongs and 1436 cigarette lighters.

Tangaroa Blue would like to thank the Traditional Owners as well as the community of Mapoon for allowing them to continue their clean-up and data collection efforts in Cape York. Thanks also goes to the Australian Government's Improving Your Local Parks and Environment Grant, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Australian Border Force for their ongoing support.

Report by volunteer Tim Sillato.

New version of the AMDI Database

DB1With the support of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority through Reef Trust, Tangaroa Blue has been working behind the scenes to update the Australian Marine Debris Database, and will be bringing the new version online later this week. From Tuesday 20th June to Thursday 29th June you will not be able to access the AMDI Database as we bring the new version online.

We apologies for any inconvenience caused, and will have the new AMDI Database online as soon as possilble.

You will need to register as a new user when you first access the new version of the AMDI Database. Below are some of the changes and some suggestions on preparing to use the new version.


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Did you know?

Since 2004 Tangaroa Blue volunteers and partners have been hard at work cleaning our beaches!

  • Number of clean-up sites: 2 270
  • Number of volunteers: 81 920
  • Number of tonnes removed: 776 tonnes
  • Number of items removed: 8 155 822 items
  • Number of volunteer hours: 210 766 hours