2011 West Australian Marine Debris Project Technical Report

Tangaroa Blue Foundation’s main objective for 2011 has been to consolidate the annual WA Beach Cleanup into a state-wide event. This has been achieved with cleanup activity occurring in each coastal region from the south coast through to the Kimberley coast and out to the Cocos Keeling and Christmas Islands.

About 50 organisations and over 1200 volunteers combined their energies to produce this successful outcome. South West Marine Debris Project monthly monitoring activities have also continued along the Capes coast in 2011 with two additional sites – Yeagarup on the western south coast and Dalyellup Beach near Bunbury being added to the programme. Additional cleanups at Deepdene and Boranup were also funded during the year and valuable data was obtained for these targeted sites.

This year’s annual WA Beach Cleanup produced 75,832 items of debris. Seventy seven percent of these were plastic and the most numerous item was remnant bits and pieces of plastic. Our revamped cleanup signature shows 47% of items falling into the “remnants and breakage” category, 28% into “packaging” and 13% into “consumer articles”. In this report we are introducing a second set of categories which provide an indication of the type of activity which generated the marine debris being found within a site, area or region. By this measure, in this year’s cleanup, “individual consumption”, which includes articles and packaging related to individual consumption of food, drink and cigarettes, generated 34% of the items collected. “Plastic remnant accumulation” (the legacy of past activities) also accounted for 34% while “commercial fishing” generated 16% and “recreational fishing” and “individual activities” generated 6% each. Averaged over the whole state our litter and local source index shows 46% of items were from local origins while the remaining 54% had a non local origin such as shipping and oceanic circulation.

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