Around eight million tonnes of plastic rubbish, the equivalent of 16 full plastic shopping bags per metre on the world's coastline, finds its way into the world's oceans each year. It is an issue that all of us should be alarmed about and desperate to fix.
That is why I was recently pleased to meet up with the co-founder of Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Heidi Taylor, and members of her team in Cairns. In 2004, the Tangaroa Blue Foundation established the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, and since that time nearly 50,000 volunteers have been not just picking up marine debris and beach litter but also recording what they have found.
Last week they reached a huge milestone, having picked up and logged five million individual pieces of rubbish from our beaches.
By logging each piece of rubbish, they have been able to build an impressive database that is now helping organisations at every level, from local government to international, better identify where the rubbish is coming from and create strategies to stop the pollution of our oceans.
Last weekend the foundation held its inaugural Great Barrier Reef Clean-up off Townsville. This weekend they are holding more clean-ups across Queensland. In my electorate, I would like to encourage locals to help them out at Cape Kimberley on Saturday and at Fitzroy Island or Walker Bay on Sunday.
I would like to thank Heidi and the Tangaroa Blue Foundation team for their outstanding service to our environment and to our community.