Zero litter in Georges River

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A gross problem

Rainfall on hard surfaces like footpaths, roofs and roads, runs off into stormwater drains, washing pollution from streets into creeks and rivers. Litter pollution in waterways is poisoning our environment.

A healthy environment is vital for human health, safety and wellbeing. Zero litter in the Georges River means a healthier and safer river for people to enjoy, and the survival of the plants and animals that depend on it.

95% of the pollution in the Georges River comes from stormwater runoff.
Source: Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee, “Georges River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan” 2013, p22
Litter in the drain

Litter isn’t just rubbish. Anything not disposed of properly can become litter.

Litter includes plastics, paper, cans, cigarette butts, green waste such as garden clippings and soil, organic waste such as food scraps and dog poo, chemicals, oils, detergents, fertilisers, and building materials.

Source: https://kab.org.au/research/

Plastics in the ocean

By 2050, it’s estimated that the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh fish.

Source: Ellen McCarthur Foundation, 2017, as cited in DAWE, 2021. Ellen McCarthur Foundation, “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking The Future Of Plastics and Catalysing Action” (2017) page 10. As cited in DAWE 2021, National Plastics Plan 2021, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Canberra, December. CC BY 4.0.

Microplastics

You eat about a credit card of plastic per week

Plastics don’t break down, they break up into small pieces called microplastics that stay in the environment for centuries and can enter food webs, even ending up in our food!

Source: Investigators from the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University as cited in Eccelston, R. (2021, October 23-24). Are microplastics making us sic. The Weekend Australian.

Dead fish in the river

‘Natural’ pollution can be nasty.

Increased nutrients from dog poo, green waste, soil and sediment can cause toxic algae in waterways which can make people sick or kill them. It can kill fish and other animals too.

Drains to waterways

Unlike water that goes down a toilet or sink, stormwater does not go through a water treatment facility before it flows into the Georges River. Everything that goes down the street drain could end up in our creeks and rivers.

Watch the video

Trapping gross pollution

GPTs are Gross Pollutant Traps installed by your local council to help stop some of the larger litter ending up in waterways. They do not capture microplastics, chemicals or pathogens. There are many different types of GPTs. GPTs can quickly get full and stop working, especially if there’s been lots of rain.

Watch the video

How to be a litter quitter

Put rubbish in the bin
Put rubbish in the bin
Keep bin lids closed
Keep bin lids closed
Rake leave and grass clippings
Rake leaves and grass clippings into a green waste bin
Pick up your dog's poo
Pick up your dog’s poo
Use council e-waste services
Use your council’s E-waste and Chemical CleanOut services
Wash your car on the grass
Wash your car on the grass or use low-phosphorus detergent
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Lesson plans for schools

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Free, online lessons developed by professional environmental educators to help your school community reduce litter in your local area.

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Latest News

Students are taking their anti-littering messages to the street as part of the ‘Zero Litter in Georges River’ program developed by Georges Riverkeeper with funding from the Australian Government.

Posted: 22 August, 2022

'Zero Litter in Georges River' is something you’re going to be hearing a lot of in coming months as we roll out the schools and community education component of the 'Improving the Health of the Georges River: Zero Litter in Georges River' project thanks to grant funding from the Australian Government.

Posted: 10 August, 2022

A new anti-litter project is in the works to prevent rain runoff from washing litter pollution into the Georges River, thanks Georges Riverkeeper and a $700,000 Environment Restoration Fund Program Grant from the Australian Government.

Georges Riverkeeper’s ‘Improving the Health of the Georges River: Zero Litter in Georges River’ project is tackling the stormwater pollution problem with a four-phase approach and support from local councils.

Posted: 28 March, 2022

Georges Riverkeeper is committed to best practice environmental management for a liveable urban river. We want you to enjoy, learn about, and help the Georges River.

Georges Riverkeeper is committed to best practice environmental management for a liveable urban river. We want you to enjoy, learn about, and help the Georges River.