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Monash Experts: how human health depends on thriving oceans

Monash University 2 mins read

Ahead of World Oceans Day tomorrow, Monash University experts are available to discuss how human health depends on thriving oceans; as well as the work Monash is undertaking - in collaboration with Indonesia - to achieve zero plastic waste discharge in one of the world’s most polluted rivers, the Citarum River in West Java, which empties into the Java Sea. 

Professor Tony Capon, Director, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
Contact: +61 478 698 198 or
Read more of Professor Capon’s commentary at Monash Lens   

Healthy oceans are essential for human health and, indeed, survival. The draft UN High Seas Treaty is an important step forward in our collective efforts to safeguard the wellbeing of future generations of people around the world.

“Australia is on the frontlines of ocean plastic pollution and working in collaboration with our neighbours in the Asia Pacific region is integral to returning our oceans to a healthy state.

Monash University is developing a new initiative in partnership with Indonesia - to tackle plastic pollution impacting vulnerable communities living along the Citarum river in West Java, preventing far reaching damage before it reaches the Java Sea.”

Dr Jane Holden, Program Manager of The Citarum River Transformation Project and Urban Water Cluster Manager at Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

Contact: +61 407 095 170 or

“It is projected that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean - 80% of the 8 to 10 million metric tons of plastic that end up in the ocean each year is transported to the ocean via the world's rivers.

“The Citarum River Transformation Project circumvents ocean pollution by addressing river waste. It brings together technological and social innovation that will form part of a ‘living laboratory’ for river transformation learning – creating long term change for one of the most polluted rivers in the world.

“Tapping into international expertise across disciplines and led by community decision making, the project will inform strategies for addressing river pollution in the Citarum basin and for other degraded rivers in SouthEast Asia, improving the lives of vulnerable communities dependent on rivers for water and livelihoods.

We really want to help communities move away from dumping or discharging waste into the environment, and shift towards circular solutions that recycle, re-manufacture and reuse waste.


Key Facts:

Professor Tony Capon, the world's first professor of planetary health, is co-author of The Lancet piece - Human Health Depends on Thriving Oceans - to be published at 8.30am EST on Thursday, 8 June.

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For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or 


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