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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".

AMDI Database hits 6 Million!

6 000 000Today Tangaroa Blue volunteers reached a huge milestone - the 6 millionth item was recorded into the Australian Marine Debris Database!! The lucky debris item was collected by the crew on MV Bahama while they were visiting Lizard Island. A huge thank you to everyone that has submitted data to the AMDI Database, not only is our environment 6 million items cleaner, but you have provided a huge amount of evidence that government, industry and community are using to create change that stops the flow of rubbish into our oceans! Thank you to everyone!!!

Not so flushable dog poo bags

Dog Poo BagOn a recent beach and dune clean up of an area near Mudjimba Beach, Coolum & North Shore Coast Care volunteers found more than 100 bags of dog poo that had been thrown into the dunes. Some of the bags were degradeable bags and some were biodegradeable bags. When revegetating the dunes, our volunteers regularly find bags of dog poo so it’s unfortunately a common problem.

The use of degradeable bags means that when the bag breaks into pieces, the plastic pieces don’t go away – they just get smaller and smaller and the pieces remain in the environment. This contrasts with biodegradeable bags where the bag breaks down and returns to natural components.

are a number of ways to work on the correct disposal of dog poo bags, including bin placement, public education etc. These are important, but so is the type of dog poo bags used and this became our initial focus.

So that degradeable bags are not left in the dunes to add additional plastic into the environment, we looked into finding biodegradeable bags. Ideally dog poo bags should always go in the bin, but if they are left in the dunes a biodegradeable bag is a better (but of course not altogether ideal) option. We have two councils in our area – one council currently provides biodegradeable dog poo bags and the other currently provides degradeable dog poo bags. We were hoping to encourage both councils to only provide biodegradeable dog poo bags and wanted to see what options were available.

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Perth Council bans balloons to save wildlife

Ian Hutton BirdOn Tuesday 26th April, Cottesloe Council in WA passed a motion to move forward in creating a report to develop a by-law to prohibit the use of air or helium filled balloons at any events approved by or run by the Town of Cottesloe.

The decision caused controversy amongst the public due to a lack of understanding. Once released into the air, balloons can drift for hundreds of kilometers before descending, or even raise into the stratosphere where they burst and return to earth in a spaghetti-like shape. As “air borne litter”, balloons then end up in the environment, such as in waterways and in the ocean. At a recent Senate Inquiry on marine debris, concern was voiced since balloons were found to have travelled 300 km in less than 24 hours in Western Australia in 2014, reaching the coastline from a location far inland. (Photo courtesy of Ian Hutton).

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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.

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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 1,831
  • Number of volunteers 58,607
  • Number of tonnes removed 546 tonnes
  • Number of items removed 5,871,010