Media Release: 24 Tonnes of Marine Debris Cleared from Great Barrier Reef

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Minister for the Environment
Federal Member for Herbert

24 Tonnes of Marine Debris Cleared from Great Barrier Reef

Over 24 tonnes of debris including plastics, discarded fishing gear, old cigarette lighters and toothbrushes have been removed from the beaches of the Great Barrier Reef in 2019, thanks to the Morrison Government’s partnership with Tangaroa Blue Foundation to deliver the ReefClean project.
A report released today reported that ReefClean, which is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, ran 49 community clean-up activities and regularly monitored 33 beaches for marine debris during its first full year.
“This is just one of the many ways we are working to address the problem of rubbish in our waterways,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said.
“The Morrison Government is committed to tackling the problem of waste, from our cities and towns to the sea. That’s why we’re investing $1.9 billion dollars in protecting the Reef and funding a range of activities through the Environment Restoration Fund and National Waste Policy to combat litter at its source.”
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said it was great to see thousands of volunteers working together to achieve such an excellent result.
“The Great Barrier Reef is so important to Townsville – we’re home to the headquarters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Reef HQ, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and many other organisations,” Mr Thompson said.
“Getting rid of marine debris from our beaches is such an important part of preserving this natural wonder well into the future.
“We’re committed to ensuring the Reef not only survives but thrives so that generations to come can enjoy its scientific and tourism benefits.
Launched in early 2019, ReefClean aims to remove and prevent marine debris along the Great Barrier Reef region through to 2023. The five-year $5 million project is delivering clean-up events, site monitoring, workshops and school engagement activities in order to tackle marine rubbish.
A key aspect of ReefClean is counting and recording all debris collected in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database. This provides an opportunity to track items back to the source and identify ways to prevent them from being released in future.
To view the public outcomes report for 2019 visit


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