Marine Debris

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.

OPERATION CLEAN SWEEP ® comes to Australia!

Pellets 2The issue of plastic resin pellet pollution has been well documented. With the help of volunteers from the Tangaroa Blue Foundation and other organisations we have developed a large dataset which shows where these pellets have been found around Australia. We have now started to implement a Source Reduction Plan for pellets in Melbourne.

We are introducing a new and innovative program for the plastics industry in the Port Phillip Bay Catchment called OPERATION CLEAN SWEEP ®. The program offers simple, cost effective solutions to achieve zero pellet loss. If successful the program will become national following in the footsteps of the USA, Canada, Europe and New Zealand.


Join the Great Barrier Reef Clean-up!

GBRMPA Cherry Muddle newsletterJoin volunteers from across Queensland this October and help reduce marine debris in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. The inaugural Great Barrier Reef Clean-up kicks off in Townsville on October 17th as part of the Celebrate the Reef community day. More clean-ups will then occur the following weekend (24th & 25th October) in other coastal locations stretching from Cape York to Bundaberg.

This October don’t let your litter bug our Reef — join the Great Barrier Reef Clean-up and help reduce marine debris on this iconic natural wonder.


How to run a beach clean-up video

To help out volunteers around the country Tangaroa Blue Foundation has joined forces with the WA State NRM Office and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to create a series of 5 educational videos on marine debris and how to get involved in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative.

If you are keen to run your own beach / river clean-ups check out this video for hints and tips on how to make it fun and do it safely.

A huge thank you to all the stars of the video, to Christian Miller - our amazing photographer and editor and to the WA State NRM Office and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for funding this program.


Santa Monica ramps up large scale clean-ups!

201510 SantaMonicaDuring term three the Santa Monica boys undertook two large-scale clean-ups, one close to home (between Cathedral Rock and Grassy Creek) and one further afield (Johanna Beach, near Cape Otway) along Victoria's stunning surf coast.

Once again we were staggered by the amount of debris we collected and collated from the two sites. Both areas are open to the big winter swells that hit the west coast of Victoria, so a lot of the debris appeared to come of fishing boats or larger ships. At Johanna, in particular, there was a lot of rope and plastic bottles, as well as the usual amount of smaller plastic pieces along the high tide mark. Between Cathedral and Grassy Creek we collected a lot of styrofoam, much of it broken up boxes. This term will see us take on the monumental task of Station Beach, immediately to the west of the Cape Otway lighthouse. We will report back with our “catch” later in November.


The Australian Marine Debris Initiative is a way that everyone can become involved in both the removal of marine debris and finding solutions to stop the flow of rubbish into our oceans.

Australian Marine Debris Initiative Logo



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Did you know?

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

  • Number of cleanup sites 1,646
  • Number of volunteers 48,647
  • Number of tonnes removed 446 tonnes
  • Number of items removed 4,851,115