18,000 pieces of plastic are estimated to float in every square kilometre of ocean.
276 species worldwide including 77 Australian species are impacted by marine debris.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation focused on the health of our marine environment, and coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, an on-ground network of volunteers, communities, organisations and agencies around the country monitoring the impacts of marine debris along their stretch of coastline.
In Maori and Polynesian mythology, Tangaroa is one of the great gods, the god of the ocean. He is the son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, Sky and Earth. Tangaroa is the father of many sea creatures and his breaths are the tides. 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..."
The organisation was named Tangaroa Blue Foundation to highlight the importance of protecting our oceans and creating programs and resources to help communities look after their local coastal environment.
The invite had stated that all participants needed to bring their own refillable waterbottles and that we were going to have a waste free BBQ, and after the waste audit, it all made sense! As part of their annual EPIC Day (Environment, People, Industry and Community), workers from Laing O'Rourke joined forces with Two Hands Project and Living Ocean for the 3rd year.
We chose the same site as last year at the edge of Botany Bay in Sydney, Australia, and with this new group of volunteers we dug in and collected over 1750 pieces of marine debris! This is the spot where the infamous Cooks River meets the Tasman Sea, and much of the debris enters the river system and ultimately the ocean from stormwater drains from many kilometres inland. Amongst it the usual suspects found during the clean up were 92 plastic bottletops, 135 plastic bottles, 258 plastic food wrappers, 55 shopping bags, 42 foam cups and 103 aluminum cans! The complete data will go into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database to help find practical solutions that prevent marine debris in our environment.
Conservation Volunteers Australia and Tangaroa Blue joined together in a beach clean-up on Shelly Beach, Townsville on the 22nd of March. We were granted privileged access to the unique location in Town Common Conservation Park by the Department of National Parks. An estimated 90kg of rubbish was cleared from the beach!
Volunteers counted and sorted through 1,204 items. Among this was: 407 broken pieces of glass, 253 hard bits of plastic, 81 plastic drink bottles, 66 aluminium cans, and 41 glass spirit bottles. One particularly interesting piece of rubbish collected was a ballast water bladder from an old boat that had been nearly buried completely in the sand. This beach is a secluded beach, so it is assumed the collected rubbish had been washed in and deposited. Great data for the Tangaroa Blue Foundation's Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database!
A more than 10 year campaign is coming to a head with Ministers due to meet in April to make a decision on the Containe Deposit Scheme.
With more than 80% of Australian's consitently supporting this program, it is frustrating that the government has to date refused to support this initiative. Successfully run in SA for more than 30 years, the reduction in beverage containers in the litter stream is evident.
Now it seems that the Victorian Premier Denise Napthine has thrown his support behind the campaign - this article was published in The Age on March 23, 2014.
We urge everyone to show their support for this campaign by emailing NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and encouraging him to join his Victorian counterpart, which will result in a huge reduction of beverage containers in our environment!
On January 15th 2014, Tangaroa Blue Foundation received a response letter from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) updating us of their plans to reduce the impact of weather balloons and their components on the environment.
In the letter, BoM stated that they are committed to minimising any negative environmental impacts arising from their operations through the reduction of the number of balloon releases; and using sustainable materials where possible.