About Marine Debris

About MDWith 8 million tons of plastic entering the ocean every year marine debris has become one of the major environmental issues worldwide. Since the world's population, plastic production and consumption are growing exponentially there is no end in sight regarding the ever increasing amount of waste ending up in the environment and making its way into the ocean - about 75% of it being plastics. The piles of rubbish we find on beaches is only the tip of the ice/plastic-berg. It is estimated that by 2050 by weight we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean.

Since the invention of plastic in the 1950s this durable and never decomposing material has not only taken over our lives, but is also taking over our environment. Some effects such as the risk of entanglement and ingestion for wildlife, the decrease of economic value from polluted beaches in touristic areas or the hazard for human health and safety are well documented. But plastic breaks up into ever smaller pieces over time. We have just begun to understand the impacts of those microplastics and the toxins attached to them on entire ecosystems and humans. Whilst a lot of research is needed, we can assume that due to the sheer scale of the problem serious long term consequences could affect our way of life as it is already affecting the health of our oceans.

Check out our fact sheets and our video about marine debris impacts to learn more.

Zero plastics by mid-2020 Bayside City Council premises

SnipImageGreat news! Single use plastics will no longer be issued from Victoria's Bayside Council’s Corporate Centre and libraries by the end of June this year.

Other Council-owned properties such as community centres and senior citizen centres will stop using single use plastics by the end of June 2020 as Council commits to a future of zero single-use plastics.

This great initiative was proposed by Elizabeth Jensen President of Marine Care Ricketts Point who explained: “Beach Patrol volunteers spend countless hours cleaning rubbish from our beaches. By far the single biggest waste item we collect is plastics. Over 95% of rubbish on our beaches comes from the rivers and stormwater drains of Port Phillip Bay. This decision will help save our marine life and keep our beaches safe.”

“Micro-plastics are known to be harmful to marine life. Once plastics enter the waters, they contaminate and accumulate in marine wildlife through ingestion. There is evidence that plastic particles and associated chemicals have already entered the human food chain such as in mussels. When ingested, they may harm human health.


Tackling the tackle in Frankston

201904 Fishing Bin 1Tackle the Tackle is a community project managed by 3199 Beach Patrol, aiming to reduce fishing tackle litter, following a source reduction plan workshop hosted by Tangaroa Blue and Frankston City Council.

- Beach Patrol has removed 19 kg (195 items) of fishing tackle from the Oliver’s Hill boat ramp area in one year.
- Council installed first Seal the Loop bin for fishers to dispose of tackle responsibly.
- 3199 Beach Patrol teamed up with Fishcare Victoria to celebrate the ‘binstallation’ with an educational fishing workshop and litter clean-up.
- The groups cleaned up at Oliver’s Hill boat ramp, collecting 38 kg of litter on the day, of which 6 kg was fishing rubbish.

Frankston community members have taken a stand on tackling fishing tackle litter at Oliver’s Hill boat ramp. Following a litter source reduction plan workshop by Tangaroa Blue in March 2018, community members identified fishing tackle litter as a pervasive problem at most of Frankston’s piers and boat ramps, and decided to take action.

The project ‘Tackle the Tackle’ was implemented by 3199 Beach Patrol and worked closely with Council to install a Seal the Loop bin on the foreshore near Oliver’s Hill boat ramp, so fishers can dispose of their fishing tackle responsibly. 3199 Beach Patrol has been auditing fishing litter at the boat ramp monthly since March 2018, collecting no less than 19 kilograms of discarded tackle from the environment.


2019 Nurdle Hunt Success!

2019 Nurdle Hunt WebRepresentatives from across the chemistry industry and supply chain showed up in force to support Operation Clean Sweep’s Great Port Phillip Bay Nurdle Hunt on February 8th.

Employees from LyondellBasell, Qenos, Covestro, BASF, Chemistry Australia, FBT Transwest and Qube pitched in alongside Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Westgate Biodiversity, Victorian EPA, Sustainability Victoria, local students and community volunteers to scour the banks of the Yarra River beneath the Westgate Bridge for plastic resin pellet (nurdle) waste. The hunt, which ran from February 8th – 10th, is a unique environmental initiative that has been especially designed to help map and reduce pollution from plastic resin pellets across the Port Phillip Bay Catchment.



AMDI App User Video

With the launch of the new Australian Marine Debris Initiative data collection app (available on both Android and Apple), we've just created a short how-to-video to help you navigate your way through the data collection process! If you have any questions about the app just send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A big thanks to Jarrod & Craig from Streamline Media for producing our video, and Brett from We-Refill for the voiceover along with funding from the Morris Family Foundation to help produce the video.

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Did you know?

Tangaroa is one of the great gods in Maori and Polynesian mythology, the God of the Ocean. One of his laws is "Tiaki mai i ahau, maku ano koe e tiaki", which means "if you look after me, I'll look after you". This guideline highlights the importance of our marine and coastal environment and encourages everyone to protect our oceans. Tangaroa Blue pays respect to the Traditional Owners on the land that we work and the Maori and Polynesian cultures from where our name originates from.

Since 2004 Tangaroa Blue volunteers and partners have been hard at work cleaning our beaches!

  • Number of clean-up sites: 3,086
  • Number of volunteer occasions: 135,863
  • Number of tonnes removed: 1,132 tonnes
  • Number of items removed: 13,215,279 items
  • Number of volunteer hours: 389,516 hours
  • Number of clean-ups: 15,275