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.

No rubbish on country with Thamarrurr Rangers

Art Wadeye 8Thamarrurr Rangers – “Rubbish” Art Competition August 2015.
Thamarrurr Rangers are part of the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, which is dedicated to cleaning rubbish along beaches and protecting the coastlines across Australia. Our Ranger group collects rubbish along beaches and in inlets to stop pollution entering the ocean and clean up beaches.


Kids get busy on clean up

201508 WongaWonga Beach State School students, parents and friends joined with Tangaroa mainstays Heidi and Matt for a clean-up of the beach recently. In about two hours the students collected 33 bags of rubbish- weighing a total of 136kgs from two kilometres of what appeared to be a very clean beach.

Even though the beach itself appeared clean, the high tides and strong south easterly winds had deposited large amounts of litter above the high tide mark in the vegetation and mixed in with the natural flotsam and jetsam that wash out of the Daintree River.


Pelican Island gets another clean

20150731 WyongBrisbane Waters Secondary College Support Unit, headed out to clean-up the Terilbah and Pelican Islands in Tuggerah Lakes with the help of Take 3 and the Wyong Council as part of the Clean4Shore program at the end of July.

In just 3 hours the group removed around 450kg from just 700 metres of foreshore! The main rubbish found was glass beer and plastic drink bottles, polystyrene, plastic bags, alcohol cans and small litter of all description. Also hauled out were larger items including deck chairs, mattresses, carpet and derelict tents.

The vast majority of litter is consistent with poor recreational and camping practices by the general public visiting the small island.

An excellent effort by the students, and coordination by Take 3 and Wyong Council who also got to enjoy perfect weather conditions for this event.

Fishing Iine v's Birds

2015 The SpitAs a wildlife rescuer who specialises in catching 'flight capable' birds I am acutely aware of the risk posed by any length of fishing line that has been carelessly dropped on the ground. Discarded line is a primary cause of  entanglement amongst foraging birds. Once wrapped around a foot or leg the line tightens, then it's only a matter of time before it amputates the affected limb, leaving the bird maimed or causing death by infection. Last year on the Gold Coast I caught and disentangled more than 100 birds.

Photo: Rowley Goonan from Wild Bird Rescues Gold Coast with some of the kilometres of fishing line he collects from the Gold Coast foreshore every year.



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 1,601
  • Number of volunteers 46,447
  • Number of tonnes removed 432 tonnes
  • Number of items removed 4,618,074