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Keeping our waterways clean: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Keeping our waterways clean: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Three million items of marine debris from Australian beaches have been entered into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative in the last 10 years. The only national database of its kind was founded by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and is changing the face of mitigating marine debris washing up on beaches around the country.

Marine debris, also referred to as marine litter, is long lasting manufactured solid materials that is discarded, disposed of or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment. It is listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act due to the life threatening impacts marine debris causes on marine wildlife including turtles, fish, seabirds, whales, etc.

The Gold Coast is renowned for its beaches and waterways. From a bird’s eye view, they look clean. However, after a closer look, the evidence of the national to worldwide problem of marine debris is clear. With over 600km of waterways and beaches, managing marine debris on the Gold Coast starts on land and with us.

The Tangaroa database indicates that the top 10 items found on Gold Coast beaches include plastic water bottles, plastic bags, bait bags and tackle items, fishing line, cigarette butts, broken pieces of plastic and food packaging. All this trash doesn’t come from the sea; it comes from land and from us.

What can we do about this? The simple solution is to be a responsible beachgoer, fisher or boatie. Take all trash with you and even clean up frequented beaches. As the issue isn’t going away anytime soon, we all need to play our part and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Take all trash with you and collect what you find wherever you are adventuring.
  2. Record what you collect using Tangaroa Blue Foundation’s marine debris manual.
  3. Enter results online at

The Tangaroa Blue Foundation website offers some great tips on how to clean up our local beaches, even the best way to reduce marine debris sources. For more information please email: or visit

By Naomi Edwards, Gold Coast Catchment Association (

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