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.
When category 5 Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit the Capricorn Coast near Rockhampton on February 20th 2015, it not only did extensive damage to countless houses, infrastructure and surrounding bushland, but also washed huge amounts of rubbish into the ocean and then dumped it back onto beaches, together with other ocean borne debris.
Last week, whilst cyclone-stricken residents are still focussing on getting back on track, seven crew members from Tangaroa Blue and eight Indigenous rangers from around Queensland headed down to assist in the clean-up effort, specifically targeting the enormous amount of marine debris that has been washed up along beaches near Yeppoon.
Cleaning up beaches is like collecting Kinder Surprise eggs (but with a positive environmental impact!): Most of the time you get what you already have more than enough of in your collection: drink bottles, styrofoam, thongs, plastic remnants etc. But every now and again you get this rare toy that you have never seen before and that amuses and entertains you. This can certainly be said for our latest quarterly Cape Kimberley clean-up in Far North QLD where the crew picked a fairly complete collection of hens night paraphernalia out of the pile of rubbish. And it wouldn't be Tangaroa Blue if this wouldn't also confront the team with the interesting and vital question: What category to put those items under in the database?
The Clean4shore team headed across to Narara Creek and Fagans Bay along the Brisbane Waters estuary on 16th April with a group from Dimension Data.
An enormous 104 bags were filled, plus bulk items weighing a total of 1 tonne from just 200m of foreshore and mangrove!
Funding support from Gosford City Council
This was day four for the Dimension Data team, who travelled by train from Sydney to Gosford Railway Station to be picked up by Clean4shore. The group assembled at Gosford Sailing Club, completed equipment check and a safety briefing before boarding oyster grower, Simon Funnel's barge. The weather turned a perfect sunny day, the calm before the storms that occured the following week!
On Sunday 29th March local volunteers joined forces with members of Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Friends of Westgate Park, Beach Patrol and Port Phillip EcoCentre to clean-up the banks of the Yarra River in Westgate Park. Sponsored by Phoenix Drinks through their 'Love Your Beach Clean-Up Series', and supported by the Rotary Club of Albert Park who treated volunteers to a free BBQ lunch, the day gave an opportunity for people to explore the beauty of Westgate Park as well as volunteer to help address the issue of marine debris.