As recently as 2017 plastics pollution on southern Australian beaches has made the news due to illegal dumping of plastic nurdles that resulted in microplastic pollution across the normally pristine Warrnambool coastline.  In August 2017 an exhaustive evaluation of marine sediments in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania demonstrated that plastics pollution was ubiquitous throughout Australia’s southern coast not only in the water column but in sediments. In a single year an estimated 8 million tons of plastic pollution enter our ocean from 192 coastal countries, a staggering number that speaks to the urgency that we take action to mitigate this issue especially in urban centers on the coast like Melbourne, Australia.    

Philippe Cousteau and the EarthEcho team explored the second largest and fastest growing city in the country of Australia connecting with stakeholders,  city planners,  and citizen scientists in Melbourne during October 2018. Alongside 25 Expedition Fellows, Philippe learned more about how actions in the city can have dramatic consequences in the deep blue. We worked with local researchers and policymakers to examine the various sources of land‐based plastic pollution that has resulted in the waters of the iconic Port Philip Bay being recently described as plastic soup. From fleece fibers in wastewater to degrading buoys to beads in personal care products,  our team examined the persistent presence of plastics in the wider context of other stressors on the system.

Stay tuned for the launch of EarthEcho Expeditions: PlasticSeas, which will include engaging videos, STEM career close-ups, STEM design challenges made by our teacher fellows for teachers all around the world to use, in January 2019! 

  • Day 1 Queenscliff, Australia

    Exploring Marine Protected Areas
    See all Day 1 updates
  • Day 2 Melbourne, Australia

    Examining where plastic comes from and how it impacts the marine environment, from people to birds to marine mammals and more.
    See all Day 2 updates
  • Day 3 Melbourne, Australia

    Examining the solutions to plastic pollution, finding microplastics and taking this beyond the beach clean up to learn about behavioral changes and ways that we can turn the tide on plastic pollution.
    See all Day 3 updates
  • Day 1 The Issue

    New content coming in January 2019 for EarthEcho Expeditions: PlasticSeas!

  • Expedition PlasticSeas Group at Marine & Freshwater Discovery Centre
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    Expedition PlasticSeas Group at Marine & Freshwater Discovery Centre

See all Day 1 Photos on Flickr
  • Day 2 The Issue

    New content coming in January 2019 for EarthEcho Expeditions: PlasticSeas!

  • Fellow and Dr. Kate with the Marine Mammal Foundation
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    Fellow and Dr. Kate with the Marine Mammal Foundation

See all Day 2 Photos on Flickr
  • Day 3 The Issue

    New content coming in January 2019 for EarthEcho Expeditions: PlasticSeas!

  • Fellows cleaning up microplastics
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    Fellows cleaning up microplastics

See all Day 3 Photos on Flickr