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111 Kilograms of Marine debris collected by Mapoon students

201205 MapoonOn Friday 18th May 2012 Mapoon Campus Junior Rangers, fellow students from year 3-6, Mapoon Land & Sea Ranger Stanley, teachers and several community members participated in a marine debris beach clean-up. Mapoon students are well aware of the impact this marine menace can be on their “country”. Marine Debris is an international problem and of course a common sight along the beaches of Mapoon and the students are fully aware of the impact this debris can be on the local marine life of Mapoon.

The Head of Mapoon Campus Baressa Frazer coordinated this bi-annual beach clean-up with Heidi Taylor from Tangaroa Blue. Tangaroa Blue Foundation is one of Australia’s few known non-profit organisations which focuses purely on marine debris clean-up. Heidi collects data regarding the types of debris collected from different parts of Australia. This data is integral to Marine conservation as it helps identify where marine debris is coming from and practical solutions to prevent marine debris from occurring. According to Tangaroa Blue “it is estimated that more than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals are killed through ingestion or entanglement in marine debris each year and that there is over 46,000 pieces of marine debris in each square mile of ocean. This marine debris is a direct threat to 20 Australian endangered species including whales and turtles”.

Students spent just under 2 hours walking along 260 metres of “Back Beach” a local Mapoon beach collecting every possible piece of rubbish. Students then assisted Heidi in sorting some of this rubbish into categories. Here is some data from their quick but productive morning –

From what could be identified there was: - 89 items from Indonesia - 7 items from Thailand - 6 items from China - 1 item from Norway - 1 item from Philippines - 1 item from Malaysia - 1 item from Vietnam - 1 item from Hong Kong

Top 10 Items

Bits of broken plastic 424 - Plastic drink bottles - 293 Plastic lids  - 236 Rope scraps - 212 Thongs - 191 Bits of foam insulation/packaging - 133 Bits of rubber - 64 Lighters - 38 Food packaging - 32 Foam cups and food packaging 29

TOTAL 1973 items of debris!

Mapoon kids are doing their bit to preserve their country for future generations, but it can’t be left up to them. The students would like to encourage locals, tourists and visitors to the area to pick up a few items each visit as every bit counts! It could save a turtles life, ensure a shark doesn’t drown from suffocation and help endangered animals! Students are also planning to recycle some of their collections to use in art and craft projects throughout the year.