Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) Marine Debris Project 2017
The Inaugural IOT Marine Debris Project 2017 on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island brought together a team of off-island volunteers, partners and local people to volunteer to collect and audit marine debris at beach sites on the islands, the majority washing in from offshore sources.
This joint project is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, coordinated by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) on behalf of the Commonwealth and supported by Tangaroa Blue Foundation.
Ocean plastic pollution is a growing issue in many parts of the world, with the potential to severely impact on wildlife, human health and tourism economy. Investing in the research and awareness of these issues now, will ensure that we all have beautiful places to visit into the future.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation's Heidi Taylor and Matt Wheldon, took the lead on the collection and audit process, DWER staff managed the volunteers and logistics of the project and an amazing group of volunteers worked hard to collect more than 50,000 items on Cocos (Keeling) Islands and 12,200 items on Christmas Island. More details below.
Besides the audit of items, details of brands and origins have been collected and will be added to over future years and the data used to track littering to its source and work on mitigation strategies. The data showed that the islands are impacted by debris washing up from all over the world, with a small percentage coming from the local community, so there are still things that the community can do to help with this international issue.
In 2018 the Marine Debris Project included a week on Cocos (Keeling) Islands from Saturday 28 April -Saturday 5 May and also a week on Christmas Island, Saturday 5 May- Saturday 12 May 2018.