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.
Students from Bambaroo State School, Cardwell State School, Ingham State School, Our Lady of Lourdes, Trebonne State School and Victoria Plantation State School headed over to Cardwell for the 2014 Hinchinbrook Future Leaders Eco Challenge on September 3rd.
The days' activities were kicked off with a Welcome to Country ceremony by Uncle Claude Beeron, Traditional Owner Elder for Girramay People. This was followed by an introduction of the FLEC and schools participating by Carolyn Luder, Reef Guardian Schools, GBRMPA. The FLEC day offers fun and hands-on activities for students and teachers to help raise awareness and understanding about the Great Barrier Reef. Cardwell is uniquely placed to be a meeting point between the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas.
Students were divided into groups after the opening ceremony. The groups were the crocodiles, dolphins, rays, starfish, sharks, sea snakes, puffer fish and the barras. Groups participated in a range of activities during the day including water quality and fish tagging workshop, a marine debris introduction and beach clean-up and a wetland walk.
Take 6 different groups of young people and put them on a beach with a TV crew and what you get is a lot of fun! This is exactly what happened recently at Byron Bay's 7 Mile beach with Totally Wild coming to showcase youth and their endeavours to keep their local beaches clean.
It was a great example of how schools can collaborate with community to give students a real voice and a real audience. This makes their learning so much more authentic and increases student engagement. Features of the day inluded a flying drone camera that followed the kids around on the beach, capturing beach cleaning at its best, plus all of the high school students bringing their marine debris artworks down for display on the beach to show other young people some examples of how to get the marine debris message out to the general public.
More than 150,000,000 pieces of rubbish are strewn upon Australia's beaches, big news considering more than 80% of Australians live within 100km of the coast. Alarmed by this overwhelming statistic, Phoenix Organics has joined forces with Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines to create The Love Project. This project aims to empower Aussies to vote and help clean up and protect our much-loved coastlines.
Australians can visit Phoenix's Facebook page to vote for the beach they love the most and would like to keep clean. The Phoenix Love Project has contributed $40,000 to Sustainable Coastlines and Tangaroa Blue Foundation to complete beach cleanup projects over the summer months.
This work is created in collaboration with Tangaroa Blue, an Australia-wide marine debris clean-up organisation, which relies almost entirely on volunteer participation. Washed Ashore highlights the excessive quantities of marine debris now accumulating on Australian beaches and encourages individuals to take action.
The use of blended colours mimics our initial attraction to products, which soon turns into waste/repulsion. It is also now understood that the massive pile up of garbage in the oceans currents (some of these twice as big as Texas such as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch) breaks down to become micro particles that are consumed by plankton to become part of the food chain . In this way we are consuming our own plastic waste while changing forever the make-up of the natural environment.
This work is an encouragement to do something positive about the situation. Each individuals actions becomes a powerful collective response, as can be seen by the work achieved by the organisation Tangaroa Blue.