Reducing litter through education
The NSW Premier made it a personal Premier’s Priority to
engage in ‘Keeping our Environment Clean’, with
a target to reduce the volume of litter by 40% from 2013-14 to 2020. NSW achieved a 43% reduction in litter volume, compared to 19% nationally.
This project let the
bottles tell the story of:
litter is an important environmental issue
people should put their rubbish in the bin
- how litter
travels once it reaches waterways
litter can linger in precious mangroves, harbours and rivers.
Watch here to see what
Launch locations and results
The bottle launch locations were selected in
consultation with Office of Environment and Heritage coastal scientists.
Canada Bay, Sydney
The bottles bounced
around the Bay for 2 weeks before travelling across the harbour to Balls Head
Reserve, Milsons Point and Neutral Bay, with some even reaching the Northern
Released at Wilks Park in Wagga Wagga, these bottles
travelled out of the township and along Murrumbidgee River, with 2 ending up in
areas adjacent to farmland.
Bottles released in Vaucluse and Rose Bay
tracked around the bays before crossing the harbour, with 1 bottle washing up
near Taronga Zoo. Two others settled in Manly, where 1 was picked up by
clean-up services and taken to the tip in Terry Hills. Another bottle was
pushed by storms out of the harbour and travelled over 45 km before ending up
Bottles launched at William Park Reserve
proved that if you leave your litter here, it will stay. These bottles remained
close by, becoming trapped in the mangroves on the riverbanks.
Cooks River, Sydney
Bottles released in Cooks River went up and
down the river with the tides. Some travelled as far as Canterbury, while
others got stuck in mangroves. One bottle made its way into Botany Bay before
heading towards Georges River in the south.
Central Coast and Newcastle
On the Central Coast, the bottles were
released in Erina Creek and Empire Bay. In Empire Bay, the bottles bobbed around
the waterway. One bottle swiftly headed into Broken Bay. It travelled out to
Palm Beach before doing a u-turn to head north and wash up on Soldiers Beach near
Norah Head where a local lifeguard found it.
The bottle released in Erina Creek stayed near
where it was released.
In Newcastle, the bottle bobbed around the
banks of Throsby Creek before making its way to Styx Creek.
In Parramatta, the bottles showed that
mangroves, which support a delicate ecosystem, are also a magnet for rubbish
with several bottles becoming trapped in the vegetation along the riverbank.
Two bottles travelled from the ferry terminal to Putney before ending up in the
bay at Rhodes.
Bottles travelled downstream along Hawkesbury
River, past Pitt Town. One bottle travelled as far as Wisemans Ferry. Other bottles reached Leets Vale, Cumberland
Reach and Cattai National Park.
Why the bottles were released
The CSIRO found that around 75% of marine
debris in Sydney Harbour, on its surrounding beaches and in rivers, is plastic
and comes from local sources.. (Commonwealth
of Australia: Threat of marine
plastic pollution in Australia - An inquiry into the threat of marine plastic
pollution in Australia and Australian waters: www.aph.gov.au).
Cockle Bay and Darling Harbour were the
worst locations in the Sydney maritime area with 2,456 pieces of rubbish per 1,000 square metres being recorded. That statistic did not include litter below
the water’s surface.
Tracking the bottles’ movement
The bottles were
tracked daily through their GPS systems and updates were shared on the Facebook page so
everyone could see what was happening to each bottle.
Ensuring the bottles did not harm wildlife or become litter
- The size and shape of each plastic bottle was
considered to ensure it would not harm wildlife.
- Each bottle was fitted with a GPS tracker to
ensure the EPA always knew its location (within 2 metres), and so it could be collected.
- The GPS trackers provided updates on their
location approximately every 2 hours.
- GEO fences (virtual barriers) were established
to trigger an alert if the bottles travelled outside a specified area. This
ensured the EPA was alerted before the bottles reached areas that made them
difficult to retrieve.
Find out about Don't be a Tosser!