Monitoring the Effects of Management Actions on Coastal Marine Debris

National Marine Science Centre

This project will evaluate the effect of the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), to be introduced by the NSW Government in December 2017, on the type and quantity of marine debris in coastal habitats.

Details

Availability: 21/03/2017 - 15/12/2017

Time required: 4 hours per week

Duration: Not yet defined

Location: National Marine Science Centre, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia

Requires face to face contact:  Yes

Overview

Aims

The project aims to:
• Determine the types and quantities of debris found in a selection of urbanised estuaries in NSW;
• Provide baseline data on the amount of drink containers and plastic bags at these sites;
• Evaluate accumulation rates prior to the introduction of the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS); and
• Evaluate how patterns change following the introduction of the CDS by comparison to pre-CDS data and reference sites in Victoria and Queensland.

The first round of surveys were completed across NSW in March 2017, with control sites at Nudgee (Qld.) and Port Phillip Bay (Victoria) also surveyed. Further surveys are planned this month and then at 3-monthly intervals for 12 months. We are seeking volunteers to assist at Ballina on 23 June, Coffs Harbour 24 June and Nudgee 5 July 2017. Dates for subsequent surveys will be updated at on this webpage.

Outcomes

This project will deliver:
• A snapshot of composition and quantity of marine debris in NSW estuaries and beaches;
• An objective evaluation of how the Container Deposit Scheme reduces marine debris in NSW estuaries and beaches; and
• Increased community awareness about marine debris and its impacts.

Needs

Marine debris is recognised as a major threat to marine habitats and biodiversity. Increasing awareness of the scale of the problem has led to a variety of initiatives globally to address the problem. In an effort to reduce the volume of marine debris in NSW by 40% by 2020, in December 2017 NSW will become the 3rd Australian State/Territory to introduce a container deposit scheme (CDS) based on a refundable deposit for many types of drink containers. Scientists from Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre have teamed-up with colleagues from government (Office of Environment and Heritage, Local Land Services) and not-for-profit groups (Tangaroa Blue) to monitor the effects of the scheme. The project involves collecting data both before and after the CDS to see how effective it is in meeting its objectives.

Benefits

SCU

Students will gain hands-on experience in quantitative field work and an intimate knowledge about the scale of the marine debris problem and its impact on marine habitats and organisms. They will also have the opportunity to assist with the project logistics, management of field teams, and be involved in data recording and handling.

Requirements

SCU

Access to willing volunteers. The first round of surveys were completed across NSW in March 2017, with control sites at Nudgee (Qld.) and Port Phillip Bay (Victoria) also surveyed. Further surveys are planned this month and then at 3-monthly intervals for 12 months. We are seeking volunteers to assist at Ballina on 23 June, Coffs Harbour 24 June and Nudgee 5 July 2017. Dates for subsequent surveys will be updated at on this webpage.

Partner

We can support travel and field costs where necessary. We will also provide all equipment and basic personal protection items (gloves, insect spray).