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.
Brisbane Waters Secondary College Support Unit, headed out to clean-up the Terilbah and Pelican Islands in Tuggerah Lakes with the help of Take 3 and the Wyong Council as part of the Clean4Shore program at the end of July.
In just 3 hours the group removed around 450kg from just 700 metres of foreshore! The main rubbish found was glass beer and plastic drink bottles, polystyrene, plastic bags, alcohol cans and small litter of all description. Also hauled out were larger items including deck chairs, mattresses, carpet and derelict tents.
The vast majority of litter is consistent with poor recreational and camping practices by the general public visiting the small island.
An excellent effort by the students, and coordination by Take 3 and Wyong Council who also got to enjoy perfect weather conditions for this event.
As a wildlife rescuer who specialises in catching 'flight capable' birds I am acutely aware of the risk posed by any length of fishing line that has been carelessly dropped on the ground. Discarded line is a primary cause of entanglement amongst foraging birds. Once wrapped around a foot or leg the line tightens, then it's only a matter of time before it amputates the affected limb, leaving the bird maimed or causing death by infection. Last year on the Gold Coast I caught and disentangled more than 100 birds.
Photo: Rowley Goonan from Wild Bird Rescues Gold Coast with some of the kilometres of fishing line he collects from the Gold Coast foreshore every year.
A team of 14 ambitious volunteers with the Orpheus Clean-Up Project combed the shores of Orpheus Island from July 9 to July 11, collecting up to 850 kilograms of rubbish and plastic pollutants from two sites — Fig Tree and Big Rock Bays. Both beaches face exposed to the open ocean waves carrying in tons of man-made pollutants.
The team collected 383kg of plastic consumer, packaging and fishing items, as well as 16,000+ remnants. An additional 77kg of rope and net strikes on irresponsible fishing practices. A total of 400 pieces of foam accounted for 6kg of the overall weight, with rubber items including footwear, toys, tyres and remnants equating to 215kg, and metal items weighing in at 50 kilograms.
The sixth Darwin Harbour Clean-Up saw over 150 people working across eight sites on land and eight on the water, with 18 boats working around the Harbour on June 26th.
“This year an estimated total of 1.2 tonne of rubbish was collected, with some of the top items including 3,300 cigarettes butts, 3,132 metres of fishing line, 1,656 bits of broken hard plastic, 9 shopping trolleys and 13 lost or abandoned recreational crab pots,” said Northern Territory Seafood Council, Project Officer, Ms Lyn Lambeth.