Clean Bay Blueprint

Clean Bay Blueprint

This project has discovered 828 million litter items reach the Bay each year from the surface of our two urban rivers. 

74% of this is microplastics.

Read more in our report from project year 1, launched by the Hon Minister Lily D'Ambrosio on 17 July 2018: Microplastics in the Maribyrnong and Yarra Rivers

And litter loads in the Yarra are increasing. 

What does this mean for the Yarra? Our partners at The Yarra Riverkeeper Association say:  The Yarra Riverkeeper Association works towards a Yarra that is healthy, protected and loved. The only way we can do that is by working with others - especially our partners, the Port Phillip EcoCentre. Our boat is the indispensable vehicle that has enabled this important research to take place. The findings from this report highlight that we need to tackle the issue upstream, before plastics degrade and fragment and become harder - both economically and logistically − to remove. We are already actively involved in this River clean-up work. We will keep on working to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on the Bay.

The next two project years will gather additional data to guide targeted plastic pollution prevention by government, business and community collaboration.

Listen to Fam Charko talk about this research on Triple R and 3CR community radio.

Why this project?

Plastic pollution is currently one of Victoria's largest threats to waterway health. It is a well-documented hazard to marine life in Port Phillip Bay as well as human health and the economy, including tourism. However litter is not yet an indicator monitored through either the Index of Stream Condition report, or Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay Report Card. We will conduct Australia's first ecosystem-scale analysis of microplastic pollution.

What's involved?

Clean Bay Blueprint seeks to build on the previous success of our Litter Hotspots project "Turn off the Tap" by continuing litter research to provide sound scientific evidence to inform positive change for the environment.

We do this in the following ways:

  • Continue our monthly microplastics trawls in the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers with the Yarra Riverkeeper Association. We are building on 2.5 years worth of data. This type of research has never been done in Australia before.
  • Conduct microplastics trawls at Port Phillip Bay Heads to understand whether and at what rate plastic pollution enters and exits the Bay.
  • Collaborate with community groups around the Bay to conduct Baykeeper Beach Litter Audits in 6 Baykeeper reference sites around the Bay (litter data recording sheets are downloadable HERE)
  • Collaborate with Dolphin Research Institute, who will do litter audits with school groups as part of education and data collection efforts on catchment streets and beaches.
  • Work with Worcester Polytechnic Institute to ensure citizen science best practice and to analyse contextual data such as land use type, weather and street cleaning schedules.
  • Contribute to the Victorian Litter Action Alliance goals by acting as a community member on their reference group.

 

This project is a 3-year project, running from July 2017 to June 2020. The project is sponsored by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, via the Port Phillip Bay Fund.