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.
Recently students from Southern Cross School and Bangalow Primary joined forces at the Our Voice Youth Sustainability Conference. The day kicked off with an inspiring speech from 6 year old Noah about sun bears in front of about 300 of his peers! Events followed with kids teaching kids about their recent sustainability initiatives. Connected with the cross curricular Save Our Seas unit of work and recent beach cleaning activities, Southern Cross students showcased their work and knowledge about marine debris and source reduction. Their informative workshop included a hands on creative component where kids made art using rubbish that had been collected from Australian beaches. The day was very empowering for the students and other schools in the area such as Cape Byron Steiner and Main Arm Primary School are now also becoming part of the Australian Marine Debris Initiative.
Fauna & Flora International announces the release of the Good Scrub Guide Australia, a consumer guide to purchasing Australian facial scrub products that are free of microplastics.
Microplastics are the tiny coloured specks floating in many brands of facial exfoliator, shampoos, body scrubs and even toothpastes. This tiny particles are so small they are unable to be filtered by our sewage systems and pass through to the ocean where they become toxic marine debris. So small are they that animals mistake them for food, adsorbing their toxins and entering the food chain where they can potential impact humans.
Mossman Elders Justice Group and Douglas Shire Council, in conjunction with Tangaroa Blue's Australian Marine Debris Initiative, held the first Mossman waterways clean-up at Foxton Park on 10 December. Representatives from the Elder's Justice Group and Council were joined by Police Liaison Officers and community members to clean up litter from the park and waterway before wet season rains wash it into the ocean.
The volunteers collected several bags of broken glass and bottles, plastic and even used nappies from the popular picnic spot before the event had to be halted because of a disturbance in the park. The positive community response to the clean-up means that we plan to hold future events in the park and surrounds in the near future.
Many thanks to the Elders and police for their time, Council maintenance crews for provisioning us with bags and tongs, and Tangaroa Blue for making this event happen. See you all at the next one.
The 2014 Australian Marine Debris Initiative Conference was held in Cairns from the 4th - 6th December. Tangaroa Blue crew members, volunteers, Indigenous Land & Sea Rangers, Government agencies and other partner organisations came together to network and review marine debris activities that had been taking place around the country during the year, and make a plan for 2015.
Partners were given the opportunity to present on the work that they are doing in relation to marine debris mitigation and how they are contributing to the bigger picture. A large part of the workshop was focused on Source Reduction Plans as a means of stopping debris from entering the marine system in the first place.