CVA and CSIRO interchange

Conservation Volunteers Australia and CSIRO interchange project

By Natalie Kikken, March 2022

CSIRO has teamed up with Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) to expand its National Plastic Pollution Baseline Survey. This will help answer these types of questions. The project aims to collect data to understand the scope, scale and types of litter lost to the environment. Community volunteers from around Australia are helping.

Through the CVA #SeaToSource program, more than 3,500 volunteers have contributed to CSIRO’s plastic pollution surveys. They have removed more than 9,000 kilos of rubbish. More than 181,200 items were plastic.

CSIRO’s Dr Denise Hardesty says this data is increasing our knowledge on the extent of plastic pollution across a range of areas.

“Australia is a large country with thousands of kilometres of coastline. It’s impossible for CSIRO staff alone to survey such a vast area and process the data efficiently,” Hardesty said.

“With the help of Conservation Volunteers, we’re recording crucial data. This will help us get a better handle of what rubbish is where. We will be able to identify hotspots, problem areas and items. It will also identify methods to stop our litter ending up in the environment in the first place.”

Research shows that litter isn’t just on the coastlines. So CSIRO has expanded its work from the coastlines to inshore areas too. It’s found wherever there are people. It often moves along rivers, creeks and streams. Surveying is being carried out in areas around the country. In neighbourhoods, along footpaths, near shopping centres and parklands.

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