Litter action

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.

People collect rubbish along the bay as part of a community event
Did you know 95% of litter that enters stormwater drains ends up in the bay? You can help address the issue.

Each year, litter dropped on our streets makes its way through stormwater drains into rivers and creeks, and onwards to bays and oceans. Not only is litter 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:

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.

    Last updated:
    23 February 2022