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WHO WE ARE

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Atauro Island is located 30 km north of Dili. It is about 25 km long and 9 km wide, with a population of roughly 10,000. Located within the Coral Triangle, Atauro Island Timor Leste has been identified as having the most bio-diverse waters anywhere in the world. It is a biodiversity hotspot with over 643 species of reef fish, including several very rare and newly discovered species. The Wetar and Ombai Straits are migratory channels for many species of whale and dolphin. A total of 24 different species of whale and dolphin have been recorded in the waters off Atauro, including the endangered Blue Whale and the Sperm Whale. Yearly trade winds bring marine debris onto the shores of the island each year. In May 2016 co-founders Bernadette Davis and Barry and Lina Hinton of Barry’s Place Eco lodge Atauro formed Ekipa Tasi Mos Atauro to address some of the problems that impact Atauro with regards to marine debris.

 

Ekipa Tais Mos Atauro’s mission is:

To remove marine debris from the waters and beaches that surround Atauro. To record the marine debris onto the Australian Marine Debris Initiatives database (AMDI). To assist the community, business and government in reducing their use of single-use plastics. To build a community recycling plant to process some of the marine debris. To enhance the locally managed marine areas (14 in total). In 2016 clean up sites were set up on the AMDI database for volunteers to record their marine debris findings, with most of the clean up action happening at Beloi Village on the east coast of Atauro. Bernadette Davis trained local business operators and locally based NGO.

Blue Ventures in the use of the AMDI system. These regular clean ups have now grown to include local and international schools, researchers, tourists and other villages on Atauro.

During 2017 Ekipa Tasi Mos concentrated on up-skilling the community on beach clean ups and recording that information onto the AMDI database.

In 2018: After a generous donation of land and resources from Barry’s Place Eco Lodge, a premise to house the recycling station was built.  We commissioned Anna Kearey to design a logo for Ekipa Tasi Mos – Atauro and set about ‘branding’ our organisation using ideals from community based social marketing expert Doug McKenzie-Mohr.

 

We ran screen-printing events where locals and visitors could bring a pre-loved shirt along to get the Ekipa Tasi Mos – Atauro logo printed. We produced Ekipa Tasi Mos – Atauro stickers for local legend Joas Martin's newly placed bins at the local market. (Prior to this there were no bins at the weekly market) We set up an Ekipa Tasi Mos – Atauro Facebook page to share our experiences https://www.facebook.com/EkipaTasiMosAtauro/ We set about ordering a group of recycling machines based on the plans from Precious Plastic. A gofundme page was set up to assist with funding for the recycling machines.

In 2019 we continued to expand our clean up efforts with Blue Ventures really putting in a huge effort to run our clean ups and record data and train volunteers. Blue Ventures field scientist Roxanne De Waegh presented Ekipa Tasi Mos Atauro and our marine debris findings as part of her presentation to the Timor-Leste Research Association in Dili in July 2019. Blue Ventures field scientist Stephanie Rowbottom and Atauro local dive master Jemima Gomes translated the AMDI datasheet into the local language - Tetun. (There is limited Internet on the island so the AMDI App isn’t really an

option.) Micky and Mardy Hinton our youth ambassadors also launched a change.org petition on tackling the huge issue of single use plastic cups that wash up on the beaches of Atauro. Micky and Mardy's change.org

 

Our Marine Debris recordings show a steady increase in single use plastic cups, with the variety of brands and contents increasing also. Not only are we finding cups containing water, but also jelly, tea, juice and iced confection  (icypoles). Between the 7th and the 14th of June 2019, Ekipa Tasi Mos volunteers collected 3469 single use plastic cups, from approximately 300 metres of beach at Beloi Village.  We have engaged Selina Leusch (Master of Business Chemistry) as part of our source reduction plan with single use plastic cups to run a 6-week research programme to investigate the origins of the drink cups. We are the first international AUSMAP site, with our first micro plastic samples sent off to Dr Scott Wilson of Macquarie University in July 2019.

2020

Due to Covid19 there have been many changes. Blue Ventures staff have been stood down and there are no visitors to the island. We continue to clean the beach and log our data onto the AMDI database. This work has fallen onto Barry, Micky and Mardy Hinton. As of 11 th June 2020, Ekipa Tasi Mos Atauro team and volunteers have removed and recorded 129153 items from the beaches of Atauro. Which weighs in at 2.4ton. To break those statistics up a bit

We have removed 27,906 plastic lids 9,637 plastic bottles and 8,423 plastic bags (mostly local ice bags)

and, 5,029 single use plastic cups in just the last month!

 

Items 129,153

Weight Kgs 2,418

Volunteer occasions 882

Hours

Plastic cups 2,340 in 4 weeks

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