Torres Strait marine debris education program
The program aimed to raise awareness of the issue of marine debris and the associated impacts and to provide students with a better understanding of the work AMSA and Tangaroa Blue do in preventing and managing marine debris in Australian waters. The program explained how MARPOL* Annex V (Garbage) applies to vessels of all sizes and educated the island’s next generation on the actions they can take to reduce and prevent marine debris and its effects on the marine environment.
The program was extremely well received by the students and teachers who were surprised to learn the extent of the marine debris problem and that the entanglement and ingestion hazards marine debris creates can be just as deadly to our marine life as oil or chemicals.
Younger students from the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary School were taken to the beach for a clean-up activity, which gave an insight into the main types of marine debris in the area and the sources (onshore and offshore), how and why the debris is sorted in order to collect data, and how this data can be used to help address the problem.
Older students from Tagai State College were given more detailed information on AMSA’s role in the prevention of pollution from vessels, the technical requirements of MARPOL Annex V, and how to report suspected illegal garbage discharges at sea. This information was of particular relevance to the TAFE students who are currently working towards the qualifications required to move into the maritime industry.
Tangaroa Blue is an Australian non-for-profit organisation that coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative. The visit to Thursday Island was the first community education activity AMSA has undertaken in partnership with Tangaroa Blue since our long-standing working relationship was formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding in May this year.
* International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships