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New plan for threats caused by marine debris

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New plan for threats caused by marine debris


The Hon. Melissa Price MP

Assistant Minister for the Environment

Media release

27 June 2018

I am delighted to announce that

I have authorised a new

Threat Abatement Plan for the

impacts of marine

debris on the vertebrate wildlife

of Australia’s coasts and oceans


During 2010, 275 million metric

tonnes of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal

countries, and up to 12.7

million tonnes ended up in the ocean. The Ocean Conservancy

estimates that the

ocean may contain upward of 150 million tonnes of plastic.

All around the world, marine

life are dying or being injured by swallowing or becoming

tangled in marine


That is why the international

community is increasingly recognising marine debris as an

important issue and

governments around the world are acting to minimise the threat,

including from microplastics.

Garbage, abandoned and lost

fishing gear, and solid, non-biodegradable floating materials

from vessels

disposed of or lost at sea all pose a threat to our precious marine life. 82


cent of these items are made from plastic.

The new plan, which has been

endorsed by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee,

contains actions to

develop our understanding of the impact of microplastics and the

potential role

of new technologies in managing waste.

The plan incorporates concrete

actions to reduce threats to marine life, including ensuring


policies on materials, supply chains, product stewardship, waste management


resource recovery work to prevent debris entering the ocean.

These actions are complemented

by the important work on managing plastic waste

recently agreed to by the

Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM).

This includes the phase-out of

plastic microbeads, the phase-down of single-use plastic

shopping bags and

working with industry to implement the Australian Packaging Covenant


addresses consumer packaging waste, a major component of marine debris.

The Australian Government is

working with bodies such as the United Nations Environment

Programme (UNEP),

the International Whaling Commission and the Convention on

Migratory Species to

develop shared actions to address the impact of marine debris on




Australia is a party to the

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from

Ships, which

regulates garbage pollution from ships, including fishing vessels.

Australia has an established

network of 85 Indigenous ranger groups who work along

coastal areas and among

other duties remove marine debris from beaches.


further information see