Western Australia

"Bag It" Movie Comes to the South West!

2011 Bag ItEvery year more than 6 million tonnes of debris enters our oceans and waterways. This number is horrifying enough, but add to that the 276 species of marine animals and seabirds that are impacted through entanglement and ingestion of this debris, then we really start to see what our unsustainable reliance on one time use packaging and plastics are doing to our ocean environment.

To promote the 2011 WA Beach Clean Up event and highlight the threat of marine debris and what we can do to help prevent it, Heidi Taylor from Tangaroa Blue Foundation will be joining with Tim Silverwood from 'Take 3 – A Clean Beach Initiative' to showcase the documentary "Bag It" throughout WA's south west in the beginning of October.

The events are being coordinated by Debbie Thompson who runs One Earth, One Planet, a company promoting sustainable alternatives to conventional plastic packaging. Debbie is a long time supporter of the WA Beach Clean Up and of initiatives to reduce plastic pollution.

"Bag It" follows "everyman" Jeb Berrier as he tries to make sense of our dependence on plastic bags. Although his quest starts out small, Jeb soon learns that the problem extends past landfills to oceans, rivers and ultimately human health.

The film explores these issues and identifies how our daily reliance on plastic threatens not only waterways and marine life, but human health, too. Two of the most common plastic additives are endocrine disruptors, which have been shown to link to cancer, diabetes, autism, attention deficit disorder, obesity and infertility.

Join the wave of people who are working towards protecting our marine environment. Remember everyone can make a difference! What difference will you decide to make!


2010 South West Marine Debris Project Report

2010 WABCUThis year's South West Beach Cleanup targeted sites between Albany on the south coast and Geraldton on the mid west coast. Additional cleanups were conducted further north at Kalbarri and Broome. Cleanups also went offshore to Rottnest Island. The cleanup was the culmination of a busy year of cleanups generating data from a wider geographical region, conducting plastic resin pellet surveys, providing education, presentations and participating in various events promoting marine environmental awareness.

Our formal regular monitoring programme on the capes coast has now expanded to include a south coast site and a west coast site and is being complimented with regular cleanups at additional sites around the coast. These ongoing regular monitoring activities provide important "seasonal" aspects to the data, and as can be seen below, our database is enabling both a broad picture for most of the coast and detailed information about a growing number of cleanup locations.


2010 South West Beach Clean Up Data Is In!

2010 WABCUP1The threat of marine debris on the marine environment is well documented, but ways to stop the never ending flow of plastics into our marine environment have been hard to find, implement and enforce. So we are left with mitigation strategies involving the removal of debris from the coastline to prevent it from being washed back into the ocean rather than finding ways of stopping it from getting there in the first place. That's why the South West Beach Clean Up was created and now in its 6th year, the event is bigger than ever!

Over the weekend of October 9th & 10th the 2010 South West Beach Clean Up took place with over 720 volunteers cleaning up 90 coastal sites between Geraldton and Albany. The total amount of debris that was collected was staggering! More than 48,015 individual pieces of debris were removed weighing over 3,000kg! That's 48,015 threats that have been removed from the marine environment helping to protect the 267 species that are impacted by marine debris worldwide!


Plastic Resin Pellets on the Western South Coast of Western Australian Report

2010 PelletsPlastic Resin Pellets are ubiquitous in the world's oceans. They are highly mobile and are classified as a member of the micro plastic fraction of marine debris. Size, mobility and capacity to absorb persistent (toxic) chemicals to their surface while in seawater give pellets a high harm potential. This survey is one of a series aimed at establishing some baseline information about plastic resin pellet distribution along theWest Australian coastline.

Download the report

Swan River Plastic Resin Pellet Report

2010 pellets1Plastic resin pellets are ubiquitous in the marine environment and as a micro plastic pollutant they are readily available to a large proportion of the marine food web. Their harm potential comes firstly from ingestion causing blockages, obstructions and a false sense of satiation leading to starvation.

Fish, birds and turtles have all been recorded as having ingested pellets. (1) Their second harm potential comes from their capacity over time to absorb persistent organic pollutants such as the pesticide DDT and its derivative DDE along with other hydrophobic chemicals. (2) Limited research has been carried out on the bio availability of these absorbed chemicals on pellets once ingested. Indications are that bio availability is possible and one consequence of this would be disruption of an organism's endocrine system. (3)

In 2008 Tangaroa Blue Foundation conducted surveys of sites along the west coast to assess the presence of plastic resin pellets. One of the outcomes of these surveys was the identification of a possible source at Fremantle Port and or in the Swan River. (4) A follow up survey of Swan River sites was conducted In June 2010 and the findings are the subject of this report.