The Bin Not Bay© Marine Environment Litter Program is an Australian Marine Mammal Conservation Foundation initiative designed to raise community and industry awareness and initiate action to protect the marine mammal environment in Port Phillip Bay.
Port Phillip Bay is one of several places in southern Australian waters where the recently discovered dolphin species, the Burrunan dolphin, has established a resident population. The Burrunan is listed as “Endangered” under Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, with less than 150 dolphins in the Port Phillip Bay population. Through creating a sense of community ownership, we can better protect and conserve this iconic species and the environment in which they, and other marine animals, need to live.
AMMCF’s researchers spend hundreds of hours on the water conducting applied research in Port Phillip Bay, across the Gippsland Lakes and coastal Victoria. Many of those hours on survey are spent collecting rubbish floating in our marine environment. Our Head of Research, Dr Kate Charlton-Robb, is often called to entanglements and stranding events, and has seen first-hand the impact our litter/waste has on these amazing marine mammals. With this in mind, and wanting to create a better tomorrow, AMMCF has initiated the Bin Not Bay program.
Litter and waste is a significant threat to marine mammals in Port Phillip Bay. Each year, thousands of animals become entangled and ingest plastic waste causing numerous deaths. New research estimates as much as 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic is entering our oceans annually; 88% of the earths ocean is now polluted with plastics; half of all plastics are single use and with new emerging threats such as micro-plastics (micro-beads & raw plastic resin pellets). In 2012 alone, 24 653 cigarette butts were collected during Clean up Australia campaigns, representing only 11% of rubbish collected. Fifty billion water bottles are bought each year and 80% of those end up in the rubbish tips. These bottles can take up to 1000 years to break down. These are shocking statistics however there is much we can do! Litter harms marine mammals and their environment.
Much of the litter focus is within communities (on land), however very few people know what ends up in our marine environment… “out of sight, out of mind”. Understanding the connection between inappropriate disposal of litter and waste and what ends up in the marine environment, access to bins in open spaces, consumer choice and taking personal responsibility hold the key to long term behavioural change. Whilst clean-up events create a commendable temporary fix for an ongoing problem, a more holistic approach of education, awareness and responsibility, in conjunction with clean-up events will create lasting change.
Prevention is better than a cure. In a recent study CSIRO has shown a direct link between the amount of litter on our beaches and education programs, creating awareness and getting people to take responsibility for their actions. Our Bin Not Bay initiative addresses these main areas of concern by educating the community on the link between incorrect disposal of litter and impact on the marine environment; provides easy access to litter bins on the beaches, especially during high usage times across summer; and targets the wider community of beach users, not just Bayside residents. People love dolphins, in particular the iconic Burrunan dolphin, which as ‘umbrella’ species will help create a sense of community ownership of the wider marine environment, and the impact litter has upon it and the animals that call it home.
AMMCF’s Bin Not Bay Marine Environment Litter Project is designed to:
- Create a sense of ownership of Port Phillip Bay and the marine mammals that call the Bay their home.
- Raise awareness and change behaviour on the link between the environment and current litter behaviour and it’s impact on the marine environment and animals.
- Deliver conservation programs that enhance the natural marine environment.
- Create greater pride in the conservation of the Port Phillip Bay marine environment.
- Raise awareness of iconic species including the Burrunan dolphins in Port Phillip Bay.
- Enable the community & industry to make a difference through litter prevention action initiatives.
If you’re interested in having a Bin Not Bay event, would like more information or become involved with this exciting initiative please enquire below: