The Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) Week 2018, themed SOS: Save Our Seas, will run from today, (Monday, August 20) until Sunday, August 26.

With a focus on marine litter, this year organisers are calling on all Eco Warriors – young and old – to help keep Australia’s beaches and waterways litter free, and raise awareness about the simple things that they can do daily to reduce human impact on the environment.

Tackling litter before it reaches our waterways and oceans is crucial for this planet’s future and survival.

Approximately 10 million tonnes of litter end up in the world’s oceans and seas each year. It is estimated that 70% of marine litter is on the seabed, 15% is floating in the water column and another 15% is found on our shores.

Marine litter consists of a wide range of materials, including plastic, metal, wood, rubber, glass and paper. It is, however, dominated by plastic which accounts for 80% of the items found on our beaches.

“People and communities are becoming increasingly aware of their actions and the impact they have on the environment,” said Ms Val Southam, Keep Australia Beautiful Chief Executive Officer. “Yet, there continues to be a large chasm between understanding why it is important to keep litter off our streets and beaches, and the true environmental and ecological impact of this simple act.

“Plastic bottles take approximately 450 years to break down in the ocean. Lightweight plastic bags, 10 to 20 years and Styrofoam 50 years. When you put this into a perspective, you realise why being involved in these types of clean ups is crucial, and why behaviour change is vital.”

You can help keep Australian waters litter free by participating in this year’s Keep our Waterways Beautiful competition. It’s simple!

Grab a friend or few, or be a solo warrior, to clean up an area near a beach or waterway – or an area leading to one. Take some before and after pictures, post them on Facebook or Instagram (@KeepAustraliaBeautiful) using the #KABWeek hashtag. The pictures must be accompanied by a 25-words-or-less caption explaining why you think it’s important to keep our oceans and waterways clean.

The winners will receive vouchers to purchase some cool green prizes!

For more information and to register, visit www.kab.org.au