Tackling Marine Debris Together

Leading environmental organisations united to find the next solution to plastic pollution at a collaborative workshop at Sea World on the Gold Coast last Saturday.

The workshop launched a cooperative network of community leaders, local and state government representatives and non-government organisations to set targets for marine debris monitoring and management on the Gold Coast.

During the day the participants shared information about the current state of marine debris, brainstormed on key litter issues and created a plans to target and reduce key litter items entering Gold Coast waterways.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation Director, Heidi Taylor said “understanding the sources of marine debris is crucial in creating successful plans that reduce the amount of litter flowing into our waterways”.

“Data collected by Australian Marine Debris Initiative partners show that cigarette butts are the number one item found during beach clean-ups on the Gold Coast over the last 8 years, closely followed by recreational fishing line. The amount of both of these items can be dramatically reduced through behaviour change, correct infrastructure and enforcement of local laws.” Ms Taylor said. “This data, collected through local networks gives us the evidence needed to strategically create a clear plan and act.”

Long-term Gold Coast clean beach advocate, Naomi Edwards said, “Together with the community, organisations and council, we are making a difference. The scale of activity amongst the community is amazing; we have a connected community network almost from Yatala to Froggies Beach.”

Reef Check Australia spokeswoman Jodi Salmond said marine debris was a big problem in any environment. “Marine debris has real and devastating effects to our environments and we need real world solutions. This workshop connected key decision makers and passionate groups to create a shared, targeted plan to reduce marine debris in the environment. By taking a strategic approach we can stop cleaning up and work together to reduce debris at the source.”

Sea World Research & Rescue Foundation spokeswoman Belle McCarthy said “We see firsthand how damaging litter can be. This workshop was the first step in stopping litter ever reaching our beaches and waterways. I am confident, thanks the passion and dedication already seen from participants, that we will soon to see real change in this area.”

To join, share and find solutions to marine debris please visit Tangaroa Blue Foundation.

This event was supported by the Queensland Government’s Everyone’s Environment Grant, Reef Check Australia, Sea World, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Gold Coast Catchment Association and Responsible Runners.

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