Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tackling Marine Debris with CSIRO

Courtesy of CSIRO website

The Tackling marine debris project by CSIRO's Dr Britta Densie Hardesty here has provided some strong results to underline why it is so important for us to play our part in changing attitudes and actions now for our future.

Fast facts:
  • Marine debris is a major issue for the integrity of marine ecosystems
  • Impacts to wildlife include entanglement and ingestion
  • Marine debris results in increased transport of pollutants into food chains
  • Developing a broad understanding of the threat to ecological systems is challenging

RESULTS -- So far the team has found:

  • more than 6000 nets (90 000 metres) and other accumulated rubbish have been removed from the shore and shallow waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria
  • animals killed by ghost nets include hawksbill, green, olive ridley and flatback turtles; dugong, water buffalo, crocodile, sawfish, hammerhead shark, sea snakes and crabs
  • nets on Australia's shores come from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand (nearly half are of unknown origin)
  • risks to turtles from ghost nets are higher in the south of the Gulf of Carpentaria and at its north eastern edge than at its centre
  • marine debris is concentrated near major population centres across Australia's coastline
  • main items that wash ashore include cigarette products and plastic bags.

Teachers and students wishing to study more about marine stormwater pollution can access AUSMEPA's Marine Stormwater Pollution unit here.

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