Clean Ocean Foundation
President: Pete Smith
CEO: John Gemmill
President: Pete Smith
CEO: John Gemmill
Clean Ocean Foundation – Overview
The Clean Ocean Foundation is an Australian environmental charity, with tax deductible status. We seek to stop all forms of ocean pollution and restore our oceans to their former health.
Clean Ocean Foundation holds that the best way of minimising the impact of the waste from any land-based activity is for the waste to be retained on land wherever possible so its impact can be properly monitored and minimised. It is also dedicated to closure wherever possible of all ocean, sanitary sewer, sewerage and industrial discharges to all waterways and marine environments.
If this is impossible Clean Ocean Foundation demands that rigorous, ongoing, transparent monitoring in conjunction in line with community standards and world's best practice occur at each outfall.
Clean Ocean Foundation was formed in 2000 by families, fisherman, and surfers who became concerned at the high level of pollution at Mornington Peninsula surf beaches such as Gunnamatta. The Foundation was successful in convincing the Victorian State Government to commit over 400 million dollars to upgrade Eastern Treatment Plant that discharges to Boags Rock Outfall near Gunnamatta beach.
Following this major victory, the Foundation is working towards the recycling of all wastewater from 189 outfalls around Australia to minimise the environmental effects of wastewater on the marine environment whilst also ensuring a vital source of water on a dry continent is not wasted.
The Foundation has also been successful in lobbying the NHMRC for Australia's recreational water guidelines to be raised to match World Health Organisation criteria.
Our mission is to “To protect our ocean ecosystem and establish truly circular approach to water and waste management."
In recent years Clean Ocean has attempted wherever possible, to work cooperatively with all levels of the water sector. This is to effect much needed change in the way decision are made by adopting a deliberative democratic approach to major infrastructure decision and fostering the adoption of a truly circular economy approach to water and wastewater.
Clean Ocean Foundation also continues fundamental research into ocean pollution under the auspices National Environmental Science Programme for the Marine Biodiversity Hub with maintaining and expanding the scope of the National Outfall Database which it established in 2015. The database identifies the location and composition of domestic outfalls on the Australian coastline.
Honest Broker for Communities
Clean Ocean Foundation also continues to develop community capability to monitor the impact of these outfalls on recreational users and the marine environment.
COF also seeks to act as an honest broker by constructively supporting and empowering local community groups in the relation to ocean pollution issues.
In a legal first for Victoria this role became formalised when after appeals to VCAT, and in a under new environmental legislation, Clean Ocean Foundation was appointed as an Agency stakeholder in relation to the controversial Warrnambool Effluent problem.
Innovative and Inclusive Approach to Ocean Pollution
Clean Ocean Foundation believes that a transparent and evidenced based decision-making process related to water recycling and offers Australia a unique opportunity to profoundly reduce ocean and riverine pollution whilst providing water security for cities and regional areas alike.
Clean Ocean Clean Water
The Clean Ocean Clean Water Policy will allow communities to properly assess the costs and trade-offs of a water reuse approach that will reduce the pollution dumped as effluent into their coastal and riverine environments.
Research and Technology
Has developed a reputation as a staunch advocate and researcher for a truly serious approach to circular economy including a truly sustainable approach to water management, something that many bureaucracies continue to pay only lip service too.
Clean Ocean Foundation has been active as a member in Open Cities Alliance, a key advocate for a circular economy approach to infrastructure as well as its antecedent NSW Circular and presented papers at The Australia New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics:
National Outfall Upgrade Strategy (NOUS) 2030
Building on the research from the National Outfall Database, the National Outfall Upgrade Strategy will be pivotal in securing Australia’s water security and resolving ocean pollution. It identifies billions of dollars of net benefit nationally by upgrading all Australian outfall discharges by 2030 to the same quality as produced by the Tertiary Class A + Eastern Treatment Plant in Melbourne.
Evidence: Upgrading Australia’s outfall economics and science
Research - National Outfall Database
Clean Ocean Foundation is responsible for the development and maintenance of the first ever freely accessible database on the 181 outfalls discharging waste around Australia. Formerly under the auspices of the Marine Biodiversity HUB, this critical research has been funded by the Federal Government. Now in its fifth year of operation, the National Outfall Database used by the academic community and the public alike to better understand the impact of ocean pollution from outfalls on the marine environment. Currently this is continuing research as part of the Emerging Priorities Program for the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Community and Environment Support
Advocacy and Support for Local Communities on Ocean Pollution
Around Australia there continues to be a transfer of the cost of proper waste disposal from the producer to the environment and local community by continuing to unacceptable practice of dumping poorly treated waste in the ocean. Clean Ocean Foundation acts as an honest broker to support local community in their campaigns to address ocean pollution from outfalls and assists them in navigating the complex processes established by governments to permit the pollution of our ocean environment
Often this involves acting as an advocate with access to volunteer experts in inquiries and approval processes that seem almost deliberately designed to marginalise and ignore adoption of a sustainable approach to waste management and water recycling whilst maintaining an illusion of community participation.
Current Community Hotspots:
Warrnambool – Deep Ocean Outfall https://www.facebook.com/nurdles3280
Public submissions here:
Merimbula – Deep ocean outfall https://swamp.org.au/deep-ocean-outfall/
Cronulla Sutherland Shire – Microplastic debris from NSW’s three major outfall discharging very poorly treated effluent. https://www.facebook.com/SOSShire
Research has shown that over 80% of microplastic pollution found in the ocean comes from plastic micro fibres.
With an estimated 400-1000 tonnes of microfibres from washing machines enters the marine environment from Australia’s outfalls Clean Ocean Foundation is working to both raise awareness of this massive problem and also reduce pollution at it’s source though reducing the amount of microfibres entering the waste stream.
Lisa Blair – Sails the World
Clean Ocean Foundation proudly supports Lisa Blair's circumnavigation of Antarctica planned for the summer of 21/22. This voyage will allow the collection of important data relating to microplastics as well as other valuable pieces of information regarding ocean health. This data will be valuable to our foundation, to other climate scientists, as well as the world as a whole.