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Monitoring program to combat ocean pollution in the Hunter

Hunter LLS documentA program to help save our oceans from plastic pollution is being launched in Taree, central NSW this week.

Community groups, organisations and volunteers throughout the Hunter are encouraged to participate in the regional program and help protect our waterways.

“Marine debris is a major threat to many marine species in the region, including our sea turtles and seabirds,” said Hunter Local Land Services estuary and marine officer Brian Hughes.

“We are encouraging community groups and volunteers to help remove harmful debris from our waterways and record information on what they collect to build a picture of how big the plastic pollution problem is in the Hunter.

The Hunter Region Marine Debris Monitoring Program has been developed by Tangaroa Blue Foundation in partnership with Hunter Local Land Services to help prevent and repair the effects of marine debris.

 

This regional approach comes under Tangaroa Blue Foundation’s Australian Marine Debris Initiative which captures information on the types of marine debris found during community beach clean-ups.

Founder and Managing Director of Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Australia’s leading marine debris organisation, Heidi Taylor said the Hunter program will identify where work is currently being undertaken to address marine debris, as well as identify where there are data and clean-up gaps.

“The program provides direction for local government to implement marine debris prevention strategies and we are confident it will inspire community groups in our region to start local initiatives and then stay involved,” Ms Taylor said.

The Hunter region has been an area of intense activity over recent years with 22 tonnes of debris removed and over 170,000 items recorded in Tangaroa Blue’s National Marine Debris Database. Among the top 10 items recorded are pieces of plastic, glass bottles, cigarette butts, plastic drink bottles, food packaging and fishing line.

The marine debris monitoring program was developed in consultation with stakeholders including local councils, government agencies, schools and community groups and provides a structured approach to monitoring marine debris.

The Australian Marine Debris Initiative has engaged over 50,000 people in both removing almost 500 tonnes of debris from our coastline, but also documenting over 5.4 million pieces of debris in the Australian Marine Debris Database from more than 1700 beaches.

Any community groups or organisations interested in becoming involved in marine debris activities can contact Brian Hughes on 0428 293 021.