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.
The Boomerang Alliance has welcomed the decision by Queensland’s local governments to support a container deposit scheme (CDS) for cans and bottles, subject to a number of conditions. A motion at the recent LGAQ Conference in Toowoomba backed a motion of support by a majority of 166 to 5.
“This is a major step forward for our campaign against plastic and container litter, said Toby Hutcheon, Qld Manager of the Boomerang Alliance ‘Whilst many regional councils have long supported container deposits, this year a vast majority, including Brisbane City Council, have added their support.’
Councils have backed container deposits subject to a number of conditions. These include no negative impact on existing kerbside recycling services, full consultation, councils being able to collect unredeemed deposits and the opportunity to participate in collection schemes if they desire.
‘We are confident that an effective and modern CDS will deliver on all those requirements and give council and the community a financial boost as well as creating hundreds of jobs. We look forward to working with the government, councils and other stakeholders to develop the best CDS for Queensland and ironing out any transitional issues. ’
Australia’s beaches are 5 million items cleaner! What started as an individual quest to protect the ocean has evolved into Australia’s leading marine debris organisation having reached a significant milestone today.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation established the Australian Marine Debris Initiative in 2004 to capture what was found during community beach clean-ups.
Heidi Taylor, co-founder of Tangaroa Blue Foundation said that the once small group of commuity volunteers recognised that if all they do is clean-up the beach and not record what was found, that is all they’ll ever do as they’ll never know why, what, where and when marine debris and beach litter occurs along Australia’s coastline.
“The Australian Marine Debris Initiative has since provided a unique platform for community, government and industry to work together to reduce marine debris along Australia’s coastline”, said Ms Taylor.
“Reaching 5 million items being recorded into the Australian Marine Debris Database is a mammoth milestone for this program as it not only highlights the enormous effort by volunteers and partners to clean-up our environment, but also provides a comprehensive dataset on what is actually out there.
The 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.
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.