Geoff, the Automatic River Cleaner, headed back to Queensland early March after a very busy 3-4 months on the lower Moonee Ponds Creek.

Thanks Geoff

Since Geoff's arrival in November 2023,  almost all the rubbish flowing down the Moonee Ponds Creek has been caught and removed from the creek.
Thanks to Ocean Crusaders, Geoff, and the amazing volunteers, we now have a better understanding of the sheer volume of rubbish being flushed down our beloved waterway!
It has highlighted the need for systemic change in waste management, production and disposal within the catchment which must be a key focus moving forward. We have learnt so much in such a short space of time, and the learnings will continue in Phase 2 which we're working on together with Chain of Ponds' partners, Melbourne Water and Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek to continue the great work of Geoff! The benchmark has been set high and with your help we aim to keep it there.

How much rubbish are we talking?

Between 15 Nov - 21 Feb, 16.75 cubic metres of debris was removed by Geoff. We estimate around 45% of this is rubbish and the rest is organic matter (twigs, leaves, reeds), which still leaves 7.5 cubic metres of litter flowing down the creek over 14 weeks, or 0.54  cubic metres per week.

An additional 5 tonnes! of rubbish was collected over this period, downstream of Geoff, to ensure we were providing a clean slate for Geoff to work with. The 5 tonnes were collected via 2 Hard Core Cleans with Ocean Crusaders and the community (9 and 11 Nov '23) and a Paddle Against Plastic (12 Nov '23). A further community clean outside the Docklands Studios, North Melbourne was organised by Chain of Ponds and Docklands Studios (13 Dec '23).

The Bigger Picture

Having one entity, government or otherwise, solely responsible and accountable for rubbish, would be a great help. Currently Melbourne Water are responsible for removing rubbish from waterways, local councils are responsible for removing rubbish from streets and households, and households are responsible for collecting their rubbish and putting it out for councils.  The EPA fine people who dump rubbish illegally but no-one oversees the whole 'system of rubbish'!

No-one is recording how much rubbish is being collected in total, what it is made up of, and working on what we could do to minimise the primary rubbish culprits. No-one is thinking about management practices that could be resourced and put in place to make a dent in these and the enormous amount of rubbish that ends up on our streets and in our waterways and Bays.

We'd like to see one entity responsible and accountable for gathering the data across the 'system of rubbish' and strategically working through systems and processes to  measure and minimise it. Who's in?

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