Snapper Island Clean Up Reveals the True State of Our Oceans

A single one-litre plastic bottle could break down into enough fragments to put one fragment on every mile of beach in the entire world. (1)

On Sunday 14th November, 57 dedicated volunteers and supporters collected 846 plastic water bottles from Snapper Island. Gives you an idea of what our oceans are starting to look like, an ocean full of plastic.

This plastic can take over 600 years to breakdown into a fine plastic powder, forever remaining in the marine environment, killing countless marine animals and seabirds throughout its life and the only way to address the marine debris issue is to stop allowing plastics to enter our waterways and oceans – and that has to come from the source – us humans.

Reduce, re-use, recycle and dispose of rubbish properly. It doesn’t sound like a huge effort to make to keep one of our most important resources – the ocean – clean and healthy, and everyone can choose to make a difference.

Along with the 846 plastic bottles, 2602 broken up pieces of polystyrene foam, 281 shoes/thongs, 66 kids toys, 557 pieces of broken hard plastic, 74 aluminium cans and 252m of rope where collected from Snapper Island. The most unusual finds were a lifejacket from a plane, a portable toilet, 2 gas bottles, 1 fish attracting device, 5 tyres and a sharps container full of syringes were collect.

In total, volunteers collected 5610 individual pieces of debris, weighing 519kg and filling over 50 bags. These statistics are pretty horrifying, especially as the island had a clean up just last year where almost 500kg was collected.

Tangaroa Blue would like to thank all the volunteers for their massive effort in both collecting and sorting and counting the debris for inclusion in the Australian Marine Debris Database. Also a big thank you to the Port Douglas Coast Guard, QLD Marine Parks, Cairns Regional Council, Port Douglas Catering, Windswell Kite Boarding and Island Point Marine for their logistical support! Many hands make light work!

Tangaroa Blue Foundation runs beach clean up events around Far North QLD, to get involved email

Moore, C. “A Comparison of Neustonic Plastic and Zooplankton Abundance in Southern California’s Coastal Waters and Elsewhere in the North Pacific.” Presentation to California and the World Ocean Conference. Santa Barbara, CA, October 2002.(1)

Published by