80% of all worldwide marine debris is made up of only 10 items (in order of abundance) - cigarettes; caps and lids; plastic bottles; plastic bags; food wrappers/containers; cups, plates, forks and knives; glass bottles; straws/stirrers; aluminium cans and paper bags.

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Marine Debris Data

An important part of the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program is to sort and record the collected debris, as understanding the most common types of rubbish that are littering our marine environment can help us to develop proactive ways in preventing this debris from ending up in the oceans. Unfortunately there is a lack of information and data in Australia concerning the sources, magnitude and impacts of marine debris, and our data will hopefully be useful to increase the effectiveness of our response to the threat of marine debris, both locally and nationally.

The most commonly collected items collected in the Whitsunday Region are water beverage bottles, bottle tops, cleaning bottles, lighters, light plastics, fishing gear and shoes.

Australian Marine Debris Initiative

Tangaroa Blue Foundation coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, which is a network of volunteers, organisations, industry groups and government agencies who are focused on the removal of marine debris from our marine environments, as well as the tracking of marine debris sources and the implementation of practical solutions to keep our oceans healthier. Eco Barge Seas Inc. is a major partner in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative. 

Australian Marine Debris Database

In addition, the Australian Marine Debris Database was established by Tangaroa Blue Foundation to record marine debris data that is collected by Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc., and other similar groups and organisations around Australia. The Database contains information about collected marine debris, including the most commonly found items, as well as details about derelict nets found at sea and records instances of wildlife entanglement. The data has been used by the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts in their Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of Marine Debris on Vertebrate Marine Life, as well as strategies for local and state Governments.

Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. recognises the importance of the Australian Marine Debris Database and are proud to have provided more than 7,000 kilograms on the marine debris that we have collected from the Whitsunday Islands and surrounding coastline.

For more information about the Australian Marine Debris Database, please contact Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. or Tangaroa Blue Foundation.

Marine debris removed from the
Whitsunday islands since July 2009
= 174,764 kilograms