Tangaroa Blue marine debris database logs 10 millionth entry

A volunteer collects plastics and discarded fishing lures from the Merimbula foreshore on Sunday, February 25.
A volunteer collects plastics and discarded fishing lures from the Merimbula foreshore on Sunday, February 25.

A recent study on marine debris undertaken in Merimbula by Tangoroa Blue and partner organisations Southern Cross University and the Office of Environment and Heritage has helped to add 10 million items of rubbish to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI).

Volunteers from the Sapphire Marine Discovery Centre and from the broader community took part in the study on Sunday, February 25. 

Volunteers spent their Sunday morning collecting marine debris from two collection zones along the Merimbula estuary foreshore. The results of this clean-up contributed to a state-wide study that examined the impacts of the New South Wales container deposit scheme. 

Thanks to their efforts, and the efforts of volunteers across the country, the AMDI database has now reached 10 million items. 

The AMDI was created to enable volunteers and organisations who were running beach clean-up events to also collect data on what they were finding with a consistent methodology so it could be collated into a standardised national database on marine debris. 

Sapphire Marine Discovery Centre manager Kerryn Wood said the study and the resultant database has allowed her to think about marine rubbish from a local perspective and consider ways to manage it. 

“It is good to see what rubbish is in our waterways and has inspired me to want to do something about it,” she said.

Ms Wood also said the research has helped to identify where rubbish is coming from which can help inform waste management strategies. 

“I noticed the prevalence of rubbish, like sugar packets, that had come from nearby restaurants” she said. “ If we know where the litter is coming from we can tackle it at the source.”

As part of the Sapphire Marine Discovery Centre’s annual Marine Science Forum, Heidi Taylor from Tangoroa Blue will be facilitating waste reduction workshops to help brainstorm ways of better managing our marine waste. 

The workshops will be held Saturday, June 23, at Club Sapphire, Merimbula, at 2pm.

“We hope to bring businesses and local council to the table as well as members of  the general public to workshop ideas for managing waste,” Ms Wood said. “We also hope to leave with a solid plan for moving forward.”

Top 10 items recorded into the AMDI Database from clean-up activities along NSW’s South Coast

  1. Cigarette butts & filters                                                     28,376             21%
  2. Plastic bits & pieces hard & solid                                     15,771             12%
  3. Plastic packaging food (wrap, packets, containers)         12,698             9%
  4. Plastic film remnants (bits of plastic bag, wrap etc)         10,821             8%
  5. Foam insulation & packaging (whole and remnants)        8495               6%
  6. Glass or ceramic broken                                                   6127              4%
  7. Lids & tops, pump spray, flow restrictor & similar             5060               4%
  8. Straws, confection sticks, cups, plates & cutlery              4856               4%
  9. Rope & net scraps less than 1 metre                               4285               3%
  10. Paper & cardboard packaging                                          4032               3%
This story Rubbish database reaches 10 million milestone first appeared on Merimbula News Weekly.