Litter by location

The key littered items study sites are in mangroves in urban estuaries.

The KLIS monitoring sites are in mangroves in urban estuaries and are not associated with specific land-use sites such as retail precincts, parks or residential areas. Those land-use types will feature in the land-based Australian Litter Measure, which was piloted in 2021.

The large catchments in urban areas have higher amounts of litter due to the catchment size being so much larger than in less developed areas. The locations in urban areas don't only measure litter in mangroves that come from those suburbs, but from anywhere in the catchment. For example, Meadowbank catchment extends all the way to the headwaters of the Parramatta River, not just around Meadowbank itself. 

There are currently 10 KLIS survey locations:

  • North Coast
    • Ballina
    • Coffs Harbour
    • Port Macquarie
  • Mid Coast
    • Stockton
    • Taree
  • Sydney
    • Muddy Creek (Arncliffe)
    • Meadowbank (Ryde)
  • South Coast
    • Batemans Bay
    • Merimbula
    • Narooma.

Location of litter by site

The figure below outlines the proportion of litter found across the different KLIS survey locations.

As expected, areas with more people had more litter. The two Sydney sites accounted for over 70% of the litter. Table 3 shows the average levels of litter at each site per 1,000 m2.

Litter levels across the 10 KLIS count sites (by items)

Litter levels across the 10 KLIS count sites (by items)


Table showing average levels of litter per 1,000 m2, by site, 2020–21


Average number of items

Average volume (litres)

Muddy Creek




292.47 14.57


70.09 4.84

Port Macquarie

67.65 13.23


61.82 8.38

Coffs Harbour

56.75 9.49


33.29 1.93


29.53 1.35


              19.60 3.46

Batemans Bay

7.28 0.95