Plastic waste, particularly fishing line, poses a threat to marine wildlife when not disposed of responsibly. Most plastic waste continues to threaten wildlife long after it has been discarded.
As a result, thousands of animals, such as seals, suffer from entanglement and ingesting plastic every year, with only a small proportion ever detected.
Specially designed bins, made from recycled plastics collected at Melbourne Zoo, encourage positive recycling behaviours from our visitors and facilitate the appropriate disposal of fishing waste when they are installed at popular fishing locations.
Zoos Victoria is trying to maximise the effectiveness of the Seal the Loop bins by promoting community awareness and engagement, particularly in the areas where bins are located.
To assess whether people using the areas where Seal the Loop bins are located are aware of their presence and purpose and how effective the bins are in terms of changing behaviour.
Three bin sites (Brighton Middle Baths, Half Moon Bay and Barwon Heads) were surveyed in early 2013. In total, 217 participants were surveyed across the three sites.
70% of survey respondents understood the meaning of the term ‘marine wildlife entanglement’
Many respondents associated fishing waste with wildlife entanglement, more so than other forms of rubbish
13% of respondents were familiar with the Seal the Loop campaign
Of the people that were familiar with the Seal the Loop campaign, most were aware because they had seen the bins. These respondents were highly supportive of the campaign and suggested increased exposure, signage and bin size was needed
42% of these respondents said they had learnt something new about the extent of the marine wildlife entanglement problem through the campaign, and 50% indicated that this had a strong impact on their disposal of rubbish in coastal environments.
Primary researcher: Dr Elissa Pearson
Participating organisations: Zoos Victoria; University of South Australia