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".
The WA Government announced on the 17/08/2016 that it will introduce a container deposit scheme for drink bottles and cans to help improve recycling and reduce littering in Western Australia. Under the scheme, consumers will be able to get a 10 cent refund on containers usually seen as litter, such as beer cans and bottles, soft drinks, bottled water, small flavoured milk drinks, sports drinks and spirit-based mixed drinks.
Premier Colin Barnett said community desire for a container deposit scheme was very strong, which should lead to high participation. It was expected the scheme would start in mid-2018.
The 10 cent refund will be available from reverse vending machines and collection depots at parks, beaches and other public spaces across Western Australia. "Drinks containers are commonly littered, which is not only unsightly, but can cause environmental harm. With a 10 cent refund available, there is a greater incentive to recycle as everyone can benefit from doing the right thing," Mr Barnett said. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the scheme would complement WA's recycling culture.
Report from the Santa Monica Campus - St Bernard's College
It’s been a stormy winter down here, with big swells accompanied by big tides – meaning a lot of the debris is being washed out to sea then deposited again further along the coast. We have concentrated on the river and creek mouths as they tend to be litter traps, both for ocean debris and rubbish being washed downstream from further inland. This week we also returned to Johanna Beach in the Great Otway National Park, as the last time we walked this section of beach on an expedition we spotted heaps of debris – much of it trawler netting, crates and rope.
Report by Tangaroa Blue volunteers Gabriele Kullack and Michelle Renshaw
This year 12 volunteers from Tasmania, South Australia, ACT and QLD, joined the Tangaroa Blue team for the Mapoon Beach Clean-up in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The team spent 5 days at the end of July picking up and processing marine debris from a 10km stretch of 150m wide beach with few trees and cloudless blue skies. We counted over 50,000 individual items of which almost a tenth were single-use drink bottles from Australia and South East Asia but principally from Indonesia.
Over the last 3 years all clean-up sites on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula have shown a drop of up to 50% in the total weight of debris and we were interested to see if the same trend extended to the west coast.
Environmental groups have welcomed the State Government’s decision to introduce a Container Deposit Scheme (cash for containers) in Queensland in 2018, describing it as a great leap forward for litter reduction, recycling, environmental protection and a vital financial boost for community organisations interested in can and bottle collection.
‘Cash for containers is a proven scheme and will slash litter rates, increase recycling across the state, create hundreds of jobs in collection and re-processing and provide a financial boost to community organisations interested in collecting can and bottles.’ said Toby Hutcheon, spokesperson for the Boomerang Alliance and Wildlife Queensland