Let's talk about Marine Debris

Marine debris (or marine litter) is defined as any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material discarded, disposed of or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment (UN Environment Program, 2009). This type of litter, in particular plastic, is an emerging and concerning issue for the Victorian community, in particular those who inhabit and recreate in coastal and marine environments.

Marine debris is harmful to marine life including to birds, sharks, turtles and marine mammals and may cause injury or death through drowning, entanglement and internal injuries, or starvation following ingestion (http://www.environment.gov.au/marine/marine-pollution/marine-debris).

There are concerns that have been raised about marine debris’ potential for collecting toxic substances which may bio-accumulate in food webs. There are a range of scientific research programs in place to better understand this aspect.

On Wednesday 11 November, 2015, VLAA held a forum on marine debris, bringing together a number of experts in this field to share their work in this space, and their passion, with the broader Victorian litter community.

The purpose of the forum was to:

  1. Acknowledge the issue of marine debris as an emerging issue.
  2. Communicate the latest marine debris research and findings for Australia / Victoria.
  3. Share stories of people who are successfully taking action on marine litter issues.
  4. Hear people’s concerns and potential solutions.
  5. Connect people and organisations by providing a networking opportunity.

The following presentations and audio provide a summary of the event.