Litter action

Did you know most litter dropped on city or suburban streets ends up in our waterways through stormwater drains? Litter is a high profile and ecologically important issue impacting Melbourne’s waterways and bays.

Litter action

Each year, tonnes of litter makes its way from waterways to bays and oceans. As well as being unsightly and affecting amenity, litter also has devastating impacts on wildlife.

The most commonly found litter item in Victoria is cigarette butts.

The average plastic bag is used for about 12 minutes but never decomposes. It just breaks up into smaller and smaller toxic pieces.

Melbourne Water spends $3.3 million a year removing litter from our waterways

How you can help

Help stop litter at the source by:

  • disposing of litter responsibly
  • download Litterati
  • joining the Litter Action Program or a community group
  • helping out at the Yarra River Blitz event
  • tracking and learning about the journey of litter.

Download Litterati

Download Litterati app: sticker on pavement at a local park

Find out how you can gather data to manage litter as we trial the Litterati app for our Sunbury and Dandenong Creek litter challenges. 

Litterati is a geotagging, smartphone application that allows you to photograph litter items and identify the most commonly found brands and product items using keywords.

Choose your challenge and take part today.

Read about our Litterati challenges 


    Join the Litter Action Program

    Rubbish collected from the Yarra as part of August's Yarra River Blitz

    The Litter Action Program is a three-year project that aims to target litter hotspots right across Melbourne by stopping litter at the source.

    The program encourages and supports volunteer community groups to monitor litter in or around their local waterways. 

    The data you collect is added to the Australian Marine Debris Database and is used to create Source Reduction Action Plans to help stop litter at the source. The more information we have about the types of litter collected, the more likely we are able to do something to stop it.

    Find out if there is an active Litter Action Group near you by registering your interest.  


    Kayaks on the Yarra for August's Yarra River Blitz
    Kayaks on the Yarra for August's Yarra River Blitz.

    Take part in the Yarra River Blitz

    Find out how you can help spring-clean the Yarra as part of the Yarra River Blitz.

    Read about the work that has been done in previous blitzes, then stay tuned for information about the next event.

    Read about the Yarra River Blitz

    Follow the Litter Trackers project

    Merri Creek
    Students toss a GPS-tracked bottle into Merri Creek, Coburg, for the Litter Trackers project.

    How long does it take to for litter to travel through waterways and reach the bay’s beaches?

    We’ve partnered with RMIT scientists on a ground-breaking project to track this flow of rubbish through our stormwater drains. From mid-2019 to early 2020, 100 GPS-tracked bottles are being launched into Melbourne’s waterways.

    You can view their current journeys for up to four weeks via the Litter Tracker map – and if you'd like to learn more, download our curriculum documents for activities designed for primary and secondary students:

    Learn about Litter Trackers


    A lady relaxing with a book by her local waterway

    Care for our rivers and creeks

    We share the greatest backyard in Melbourne. If you see litter around our rivers and creeks, find out why you should pick it up and bin it.  


    Caring for our rivers and creeks


    Join the conversation

    Follow @MelbourneWater on your social channels for the latest on litter:


    Last updated:
    16 March 2020