Litter action: make litter extinct

As Melbourne grows, the amount of litter does too. Together, let’s make litter extinct!

Each year, litter on our streets makes its way through stormwater drains into our rivers, creeks and iconic bays – which are essential to our way of life and the lifeblood of Melbourne. Not only is litter unsightly: it has devastating impacts on the places where native wildlife thrive.

That’s why we work with other groups to constantly tend to all the rivers, creeks and surrounding land that are part of what makes living here so great.

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

Person wearing gloves uses a pair of tongs to pick up rubbish from the ground

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

Primary school students crouch next to rubbish bins with custom of animals that say "bin it for me!"

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:

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

We collaborated with the Bacchus Marsh Platypus Alliance to encourage construction sites to prevent their litter entering the Werribee River - a home for platypus.

Diamond Creek

Diamond Creek has the highest rate of platypus litter entanglement across our area of operation. When volunteer litter audits discovered a nearby bin was constantly overflowing, we worked with Nillumbik Council to install a solar compacting bin.

Kororoit Creek

This ‘Litter Mural’, developed as a big art project for central Sunshine, draws attention to the fact that litter dropped on the street flows into Kororoit Creek. It was the result of a collaboration with Brimbank City Council, Sunshine Business Association and Friends of Kororoit Creek.

Our Home

We collaborated with Nature West and the Werribee River Association on an interactive sculpture to remind people that looking after our home also means looking after the environment.

Learn more

Litter Trackers project

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

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

LitterWatch Victoria’s website provides a central location to store, interact with and extract litter data, collected from communities, organisations and government.

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