Marine plastic pollution impacts on Victoria’s parks

Mr Mark Rodrigue1

1Parks Victoria, Melbourne, Australia


Marine plastic pollution poses a significant threat to environmental as well as social and amenity values of marine and coastal protected areas from Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay to remote parts Victoria’s wild coastline.

As the manager of more than 70% of Victoria’s coast and around 15% of the state’s marine waters as protected areas Parks Victoria recognises plastic litter and pollution as a threatening process in marine, coastal, and estuarine areas, posing both immediate and long-term threats to park values.

Where plastic debris builds up as a result of marine or catchment processes significant impacts occur particularly in areas with high natural values including seal colonies and haul out sites, and bird feeding, roosting, and breeding areas.

Marine  debris is also unsightly and markedly reduces the quality of visitor experiences in locations where debris builds up, often requiring difficult and expensive management intervention to remove accumulated material.

This paper provides an overview of key impacts of marine plastics on Victoria’s park system, emerging challenges, and some of the strategies employed to prevent and manage this widespread issue.


Mark is Statewide Leader – Marine and Coasts with Parks Victoria and has oversight of the state’s rich and diverse marine protected area system.

A marine and coastal specialist Mark has a passion for education, partnerships, and building community stewardship for protected areas through effective management.

He lives with his family in the coastal community of Barwon Heads and can often be found with his head underwater in the local marine sanctuary.