Adopt a beach – help to keep our oceans clean


Everyone who cares about the health of our precious marine environments is being given the opportunity to adopt a beach by the Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society.

Marine debris – what is it and what is its impact?

Little penguin found entangled at Wilsons Prom


Marine debris usually applies to floating waste such as:

  • Bottles
  • Cans
  • Styrofoam
  • cruise ship waste
  • Offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Production facilities pollution
  • Fishing paraphernalia from professional and recreational boaters.

Debris can enter the water directly through dumping into bodies of water or indirectly through runoff via rivers,  streams

and stormwater drains. Marine debris threatens marine life and seabirds through ingestion and entanglement.

It is estimated that 46,000 pieces of marine debris float in each square mile of ocean and over 276 species of animals and birds are impacted bymarine debris including 20 Australian species that are already listed as endangered.

Plastics collected from the beach by a count group

What is Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society and what are they doing about it?

The society was formed in 2004 to address the issue of marine debris impacting the Australian coastline.

The society is currently working with local communities, authorities, industry and volunteers to find practical solutions for reducing these items from ending up in the ocean in the first place.

The organisation now has around 5000 volunteers around Australia and New Zealand who regularly participate in beach cleanup events, and have  removed close to 1 million pieces of marine debris from our coastline!

The Australian Marine Debris Project

The society’s major project is the Australian Marine Debris Project which invites volunteers to adopt their section of beach, to run beach clean ups, to collect data on what they are finding and then submit it  for inclusion in the National Marine Debris Database.



The National Marine Debris Database:


The National Marine Debris Database is coordinated by Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society and is used to identify the types and amounts of marine debris that is impacting each cleanup site.

Volunteers sorting out and counting debrist


The data is:

  • Is being used by local, state and federal government agencies
  • has been successful in creating legislative change
  • Is helping to keep our oceans clean and healthy
  • Is showing the value of community collected data.



What’s happening on our region on the Surf Coast?

In 2010 The Tangaroa Ocean Blue Society joined forces with the Surfrider Foundation Australia to implement the Surf Coast

Marine Debris Project.   The Surf Coast focussed component of the project is aimed at engaging community members through clean up events, education on marine debris and identification of what is impacting on the Surf Coast through detailed data collection.

Students from Santa Monica Campus, Airey’s Inlet on their monthly clean up

Students from St Bernard’s College Santa Monica campus in Airey’s Inlet, students from Kardinia International College and the Torquay Surfrider Branch are all contributing to the project and all volunteers, community groups and schools are invited to get involved.

How can I get involved?

All you need to do is select a se ction of coastline that you can regularly visit and register it at . You will receive clean up materials, information on how to collect data and submit it to the database as well as  other resources.

Our next event is a cleanup is at Cosy Corner on Thursday February 24th at 6pm-7.30pm. For more information on this event contact John Foss on jfoss@ ozem .

For more information or to get involved in the Surf Coast Marine Debris Project contact Heidi Taylor at

Story brought to you by the Tangaroa Ocean Blue Society

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