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As the world’s oceans face a devastating plastic crisis Sea Shepherd Australia today announced a dedicated campaign to combat the growing tide of marine debris in the world’s oceans and waterways.

Marine debris is a globally recognised environmental issue as marine ecosystems world-wide are increasingly affected by human-made refuse, much of which is plastic.

The Marine Debris Campaign will involve volunteers from Sea Shepherd chapters around Australia promoting and facilitating coastal and river clean-up activities in support of the protection and conservation of their local marine environment.  A suite of community engagement initiatives will also be developed including education.

Turtle entangled in marine debris (ghost net)Turtle entangled in marine debris (ghost net)Sea Shepherd is particularly concerned about the harmful effects of marine debris on wildlife. Each year millions of tonnes of marine debris enters our oceans injuring and killing more than a million sea birds and 100 million marine animals through entanglement, suffocation and ingestion.

“Many people don’t fully realise the harmful effects of toxic particles found in marine debris, particularly microplastics. The toxins in the plastic particles intensify as they are passed up the food chain and are quickly becoming, not only a massive threat to marine animals everywhere, but also a serious health risk to humans,” said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director, Sea Shepherd Australia.

“Given that there are currently 18,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilometre of the world’s oceans and that an estimated 44% of marine mammals, 86% of sea turtles and up to 90% of seabirds have plastic in their guts, every piece of plastic we stop from entering the ocean is a potential life saved.”

 “Our oceans are in serious trouble globally. Given that most of the plastic off Australia’s coast is in fact coming from Australians, we have no choice but to act now.”

Sea Shepherd Australia is also delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with Melbourne based reusable coffee cup company, KeepCup. KeepCup has designed and manufactured a range of Sea Shepherd branded KeepCups for sale, with all proceeds going towards our ocean defense campaigns.

Buy a KeepCup at our online store.

Beach Cleanup. Photo: Tim Watters

Beach Cleanup. Photo: Tim Watters

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