Clean-up puts focus on plastic laws
Almost 330,000 pieces of rubbish were collected on WA beaches by South West initiative Tangaroa Blue Foundation in 2018, with hopes such monitoring will go on to show if last year’s legislation against single use plastic bags has been effective.
Tangaroa Blue is an Australian charity that started with beach clean-ups in the South West in 2004, before spreading across the nation and through the Pacific.
The organisation now helps inform international policy through the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, which sees every piece of debris collected entered into a data system allowing for the analysis of materials and their origins.
As of 2018, the AMDI database surpassed 12.5 million data points collected from 3000 cleanup sites Australia-wide, which have been responsible for removing more than 1000 tonnes of debris from the environment.
Founder and chief executive officer Heidi Taylor said on a global scale, such monitoring had changed policy towards marine debris prevention.
“The Maritime Safety Authority came to us last year and asked if laws put in place in 2013 (preventing boaters to throw debris overboard) had reduced waste,” she said. “We came back and said looking at this data analysis, there doesn’t seem to be a significant decrease.”
On October 26, The International Maritime Organisation pledged to address the persisting problem revealed by the findings of Tangaroa Blue and other organisations, and adopt a new action plan to enhance existing regulation.
Surfrider Foundation members Laura Bailey, Lawson Armstrong, Sholto Armstrong, 9, Lauren Scanlon, Phoebe Armstrong, 7, and Blair Darvill team up with Tangaroa Blue to host a clean-up day.