These proven methodologies have been developed in collaboration with experts from UNSW, UTAS, SCU, MU as well as the Tangaroa Blue Foundation data team. They offer a standardised approach for citizen scientists collecting this important data on a national scale.
Community clean-up surveys have provided significant data on the amount and different types of debris found, as well as hotspots where it is accumulating. The development and implementation of a consistent monitoring program will provide more robust data, leading to further insight and support in addressing these issues, as well as evaluating the success of prevention activities.
Monitoring refers to surveys performed consistently over regular intervals, using appropriate methods for each different type of site. To understand how litter travels from where it is first released (source), to where it arrives (sink), we need to monitor different types of land-use sectors. Monitoring sites may include inland waterways, estuaries, on the ground areas such as parks, built drainage, coastal shorelines and underwater.
The AMDI Monitoring Protocols for Litter and Marine Debris provides community organisations, Indigenous groups, citizen scientists, government and not-for-profit organisations, the methodologies and rationale for establishing marine debris and litter monitoring projects. Data collection and assessment programs will be carried out across different land types, locations and settings, from inland to coastal environments.
Why is regular monitoring so important?
- A structured monitoring framework aims to create long-term, high-quality datasets that can be used for scientific research.
- It provides a better understanding of the overall debris trends (whether increasing or decreasing) within a management area.
- The data collected can be used to set targets for prevention and mitigation, and to evaluate the success of these intervention and source reduction measures.
- It helps to understand the flow of debris through the litter pathway, including the quantity, sources and common types of marine debris, where it accumulates, and if it is changing over time.
- More robust data can assist with understanding the core issues on a local and global scale, supporting the case for action and change!
By participating in a monitoring program, your ongoing commitment will provide essential data to help with understanding and reducing the marine debris problem on a local and global scale. Tangaroa Blue Foundation provides an open list of sites that are ideal for monitoring and you are welcome to adopt one of these sites or propose your own.
How to get started
- Review the monitoring protocol document and data sheets below.
- Decide which type of site or sites along the litter pathway you would like to commit to survey on an ongoing basis.
- Decide if you want to adopt a site identified by Tangaroa Blue Foundation or recommend a new site in your area. Use the site selection and planning guidelines in the document.
- Register your site and arrange access to the AMDI Database.
- Before any monitoring can be conducted, make sure you obtain all relevant approvals to access the site and conduct a site inspection. We recommend you refer to the Work Health and Safety Management Strategy.
- Organise your monitoring team and equipment.
- Complete the online training to familiarise yourself with the sampling methods for your site.
- Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
- Begin surveying!
Tangaroa Blue Foundation would like to acknowledge the Mostyn Family Foundation and the
Australian Citizen Science Association who kindly supported the development of this publication.