Litter is the most visible pollutant in the environment. Did you know that most of the litter on our beaches comes from suburban streets, transported through stormwater drains? Litter reduces water quality and harms aquatic life through ingestion, choking and accumulation of pollutants.
As part of the Litter Trackers project, scientists will work with schools and community groups to launch GPS tracked bottles into Melbourne’s waterways to demonstrate how and where litter travels once it enters our waterways.
95% of litter transported through stormwater drains into rivers, ultimately ends up on beaches in Port Phillip Bay. From cigarette butts to plastic bottles, most of what we drop on our streets is washed into the stormwater system by rainfall, travels via our waterways to our bays and washes onto our beaches.
Our catchments receive stormwater from urban areas. This stormwater often contains litter carried from Melbourne’s streets into the drainage system, which is transferred into local creeks and rivers.
Litter items may be trapped in stream-side vegetation, collected by litter traps, or transported along the waterway eventually ending up in Port Phillip Bay. Litter is a direct financial cost towards local and state governments, and therefore to the community. The Victorian government is working to reduce litter to protect the our waterways and Port Phillip Bay.
Bottles containing GPS trackers will be released in various creeks and rivers together with schools and community groups to simulate the movement of litter.
The project aims to reduce littering by educating the Port Phillip Bay community about the environmental impact of litter on our waterways through awareness raising, educational programs in schools and improving understanding of how litter moves from our suburbs to our beaches, bays and the ocean.
Through the litter trackers project, everyone can join us in driving change and building a cleaner, healthier future for Melbourne’s waterways and bays.
Why is this important? Let litter tell the story.
Follow the Litter Trackers Project and:
- Learn why litter is an important environmental issue.
- Learn how it travels from your hand or pocket to our waterways and beaches.
- Learn If extreme weather conditions affect the litter journey.
- Understand how litter can remain trapped in our creeks, rivers, estuarine and marine environments impacting waterway health and aquatic wildlife.
- Increase your awareness of local waterway values and the connections between catchment activities and waterway health.
Litter Trackers Launch Campaigns
Elster Creek, Elwood - 9 May 2019
Port Phillip Ecocentre & Friends of Elster Creek
Dandenong Creek, Vermont - 10 May 2019
First Friends of Dandenong Creek
1st Launch Campaign - May 2019
Dandenong Creek, Vermont - 28 May 2019
Bentleigh West Primary School
First Friends of Dandenong Creek
Merri Creek, Brunswick East - 31 May 2019
Merri Creek Management Committee
Maribyrnong River, Aberfeldie - 31 May 2019
Our Lady of the Nativity Primary School
How can you be involved?
- Join our Facebook page for updates on litter journeys.
- Follow the map to see how far our litter is traveling.
- Share our project - Engage your community to raise awareness around litter.
- If you an educator, classroom materials are available here as part of your curriculum.
- If you find our litter bottles, please leave them undisturbed. Citizen Scientists will retrieve the bottles. Please email the contact listed on the bottle if found out of a waterway or in an area of concern.
- Do the right thing. Take action! Bin your litter or any litter that you find around you. If you are not near a rubbish bin, take your litter home.
- Report people who throw litter from a Victorian-registered motor vehicle to EPA. You can report via EPA’s website, by downloading a report litter app or via EPA’s 24 hour Pollution Hotline (1300 EPA VIC)