The Australian Marine Debris Initiative is a way that everyone can become involved in both the removal of marine debris and finding solutions to stop the flow of rubbish into our oceans.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australian registered charity 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.
Since the program started in 2004, more than 1.2 million pieces of marine debris have been removed from the Australian coastline and data on this debris collated and inputted into the Australian Marine Debris Database.
The database is used to firstly identify what is impacting different sections of the coast, and then to track wherever possible where those items are coming from. Lastly stakeholders are then brought together to work on practical solutions and create source reduction plans to stop marine debris from entering our oceans in the first place. The database has open access to all contributors who are also recognised when data is used, and has been used by the CSIRO, James Cook University, all levels of government and communities.
While an estimated 18,000 pieces of plastic float in every square kilometre of ocean, it is only when it washes ashore that most people get an idea of how much rubbish must actually be out in our oceans and the impacts that this has on marine life and seabirds. This is also our best opportunity to remove it from the environment before the next tide washes it back out to sea again.
Volunteers, organisations and communities from around the country are invited to join forces in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative to find practical solutions in reducing ocean pollution.