Marine Debris

18,000 pieces of plastic are estimated to float in every square kilometre of ocean.

633 species worldwide including 77 Australian species are impacted by marine debris.

Over 75% of what is removed from our beaches is made of plastic.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australian-wide not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris, one of the major environmental issues worldwide. But if all we do is clean-up, that is all we will ever do.

To successfully solve the problem, the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) was created, an on-ground network of volunteers, communities and organisations that contribute data from rubbish collected during beach and river clean-up events to the AMDI Database, and then work on solutions to stop the flow of litter at the source. The AMDI helps communities look after their coastal environment by providing resources and support programs, and collaborates with industry and government to create change on a large scale.

In Maori and Polynesian mythology, Tangaroa is the god of the ocean. Tangaroa made laws to protect the ocean and its sea creatures "Tiaki mai i ahau, maku ano koe e tiaki"... If you look after me, then I will look after you..." When, after a week-long clean-up event, the whales and dolphins come close to our beach and slap their flippers, we sometimes wonder if it is Tangaroa saying "thank you".

Mogo Indigenous Rangers Out in the Field

Mogo LALC Indigenous RangersMogo Local Aboriginal Land Council join forces with Eurobodalla Marine Debris Working Group to tackle marine debris in Eurobodalla.

The Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Indigenous rangers participated in a training day on the Tomaga River last week with Eurobodalla’s marine debris working group.

The rangers collected eight large bags of marine debris from the mangrove nursery and saltmarsh areas east of the Tomaga Bridge. All the debris was sorted and the data loaded onto the Australian Marine Debris Database.

Photo: Mogo’s Indigenous Rangers collected eight bags of marine debris from the Tomaga River mangroves and saltmarshes last week. Pictured (l-r) at the end of a hard day are Malachy Leslie, Tristan Nye, James Nye-Potts, Adam Nye, Bernadette Davis, Adam McCarron, Stephen Stewart, Tayla Nye, Jake Chatfield and Sherrie Nye.


12 Months on from Cyclone Nathan

Alligator7Alligator Creek, this remote and largely unknown jewel of a coastline north of Cooktown (Far North QLD) became infamous in 2015 for anyone caring about marine debris in Australia by being the worst polluted beach ever recorded in the country: After Cyclone Nathan it took 30 volunteers days to clean up only a few hundred meters of beach. Back then, we collected the sad record of 1,250 kg of plastics from 550m of coastline. So in 2016 we were keen to find out how much had washed up without an extreme weather event interfering and headed off to our first (and shortest) of the Cape York clean-ups of the year.


Clean Straddie Campaign

IMG 2375Since 2013, numerous groups have been documenting coastal and underwater marine debris on North Stradbroke Island. Some of these groups have united for a Clean Straddie campaign to try to achieve better outcomes for clean ups, data collection and addressing debris at the source. Recently, a review of data revealed several key trends and these were summarised in an infographic to help showcase easy steps that everyone can take to help reduce critical debris items that are coming from local sources. The infographic was posted around the island, on ferries and online to inspire action on simple activities with big positive impacts collectively.


25,000 recycled items in 3 months!

201603 WadeyeRubbish is a significant problem in the remote Indigenous community of Wadeye. Waste products from food, clothing, tools and other items have traditionally come from the land and been recycled back into the land e.g. seeds from fruits, animal bones, timber offcuts. In contemporary community life, there is a huge amount of packaging and waste products that cannot be recycled back into the land e.g. plastics and metals. This creates a new problem of managing waste in a remote area where 'rubbish' is unfamiliar and its impacts on the environment have not been well considered.

Waste products at Wadeye end up in landfill or become 'rubbish' lying around the community and are carried by wind and rain to the surrounding land and sea country. This rubbish can directly affect the health of people and wildlife, contributing to an unhygienic environment and harming/killing birds, turtle, sea life, etc. by eating the rubbish or getting tangled up in it. Waste products can also leach chemicals into our environment, indirectly affecting wildlife and food sources.


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Did you know?

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

  • Number of cleanup sites 1,748
  • Number of volunteers 54,241
  • Number of tonnes removed 498 tonnes
  • Number of items removed 5,367,161