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Clean Bay Blueprint

About the Project

Clean Bay Blueprint is a three-year litter study conducted between July 2017 and June 2020. 

It was a collaborative microplastics research project that enabled:

  • Conduct of rigorous and replicable methods to quantify plastic pollution through microplastics trawls and beach litter audits.
  • Community engagement of citizen science activities.
  • Partnerships with other organisations that target litter and Bay health.

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.

Clean Bay Blueprint sought 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 did this by:

  • Continuing our monthly microplastics trawls in the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers with the Yarra Riverkeeper Association. We collected 5.5 years worth of data in total. When we started this project, it was the first of its kind in Australia.
  • Collaborating with various community groups around the Bay to conduct Baykeeper Beach Litter Audits on 6 Baykeeper reference sites around the Bay.
  • Collaborating with Dolphin Research Institute, which conducted litter audits with school groups as part of their education program, and the RMIT Plastics Lab, which analysed caught microplastics for polymer type.
  • Collaborating with over 50 organisations throughout the life of the project, to work towards our shared goals.

The project was sponsored by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, via the Port Phillip Bay Fund.

We thank the Yarra Riverkeeper Association and Dolphin Research Institute for partnering with us on this project

"Port Phillip Bay is not like the ocean. The litter we find on bay beaches is ours and ours alone. It got there from the suburbs, via the waterways and is not likely to float away elsewhere on the next tide."

Fam Charko, Marine Biologist, Port Phillip EcoCentre

The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional owners of the land on which we are located.

We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Elder members of our multicultural community.