Litter is an important ecological issue impacting Melbourne’s waterways and bays. Discover how you can take action, see what others in the community are doing, or find out where to learn more.
Each year, litter on our streets makes its way through stormwater drains into rivers and creeks, and then to our bays and oceans. Not only is it unsightly – it has devastating impacts on wildlife.
Melbourne Water helps protect waterways by cleaning up litter. In 2020-21, we spent $4.8 million collecting litter and debris from our waterways and drainage system. That’s around 1,695 cubic metres of rubbish – more than enough to fill half an Olympic-sized swimming pool!
Take action against litter
There are many ways to reduce litter, individually or as part of a community group.
Stop litter at the source
Prevent litter from becoming an issue before it reaches our waterways and bays:
- put litter in a bin
- participate in a clean-up day
- consider buying things with less packaging
- remember to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Start a litter reduction project
If your school or community group has a small litter reduction project, we can help provide funding through our Liveable Communities, Liveable Waterways Program.
If you’d like to discuss your project, email [email protected].
Join a community group
There are many local groups you can volunteer for or support as a member:
- Tangaroa Blue is a national not-for-profit dedicated to removing and preventing marine debris
- Port Phillip EcoCentre offers education programs and events on wildlife, waterways and climate
- BeachPatrol and Love Our Street volunteer groups pick up litter monthly from local areas
- Yarra Riverkeeper Association protects the Yarra, including through regular clean-up blitzes
- Werribee River Association works to protect the Werribee River and the waterways in its catchment.
Case studies: The Litter Action Project
Discover how communities and volunteers concerned about litter in their local waterways, and the impact on wildlife, embarked on a mission to tackle litter at its source. From construction site signage to murals and interactive sculptures, watch the following videos to see how they made a difference through Melbourne Water's Litter Action Project.
- Bacchus Marsh
- Diamond Creek
- Kororoit Creek
- Our Home
Litter Trackers project
RMIT University’s Litter Trackers website contains maps and data from a ground-breaking project that followed 100 GPS-tracked bottles launched into Melbourne’s waterways. The 2019 project was a partnership with RMIT’s AQUEST Research Group.
Educators can also download our lesson plans:
LitterWatch Victoria’s website provides a central location to store, interact with and extract litter data, collected from communities, organisations and government.