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Oceanography: Waste Disposal

Year 10 Elective Geography




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World Economic Forum


There could be a million times more microplastics floating around our oceans than previously thought, according to new research suggesting existing studies could have seriously underestimated the problem.

Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment

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).



Billions of people around the world rely on fish as a source of protein and fishing is the principal livelihood of millions. Maintaining the balance of exquisite life in our oceans is just as critical to life on land.

It seems like plastic pollution and its impacts on our oceans, beaches and wildlife is one of the biggest environmental news stories at the moment.

Marine Debris Program

The mission of the NOAA Marine Debris Program is to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris.


A surf photographer, business owner and father of two is seeing more and more plastic wash ashore his beloved home beach. In a bid to discover the route of this problem he embarks on a journey of discovery to educate himself and understand more about the problem. Along the way, he discovers some alarming issues. Plastic Pollution is a very real threat to the future of our planet, the animals that inhabit our oceans and ultimately the human race. The problem is far worse than it seems on the surface and we need to act now to ensure we protect the future for ourselves and our planet.

You might not be able to see them, but they're in the water. Although trash heaps are easier to spot in waterways, microplastics—pieces of plastic smaller than five millimeters—have started to stir more concern. Acting as sponges, the pieces soak up the chemicals around them and often make their way through the food chain, ending up on dinner plates. Most microplastics are created over time from larger pieces or directly from microbeads in products like face washes or toothpaste. The pieces are so small they pass through waste treatment plants and into waterways.

We live in a world of plastic. From the clothes we wear, the electronics we use to the food we buy, our lives our surrounded by, and depend on, plastic products. Over time, all of these plastic products break down into smaller and smaller pieces to become ‘microplastics,’ or plastics smaller than five millimeters.

Tuesday the 22nd of March is World Water Day. So we're going to take a closer look at a threat to our oceans that you might not have heard of before. We've all visited the beach and seen heaps of rubbish lying around. But scientists say there's also trash there that we can't see. It's called microplastics.

Marine Bio

Governments world-wide were urged by the 1972 Stockholm Conference to control the dumping of waste in “their oceans” by implementing new laws. The United Nations met in London after this recommendation to begin the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter which was implemented in 1975.


CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, has provided the first ever global estimate for microplastics on the seafloor, with results suggesting there are 14 million tonnes in the deep ocean.



Items like plastic bags, discarded fishing line and balloon strings are highly lethal to marine animals, who swim through them and become entangled.


Plastic pollution is being found throughout oceans around the world, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This global issue is attracting growing concern due to its effect on marine organisms and ecosystems.

Coastal Care