The Litter Working Group is targeting litter from a catchment wide perspective

The Chain of Ponds Collaboration identified litter and rubbish dumping as a catchment-wide issue for Moonee Ponds Creek and litter education and urban renewal as opportunities to transform the Creek (Chain of Ponds Prospectus).

A Litter Working Group was formed in June 2019 to identify actions the group could implement and/or advocate for - to address the litter issue. It was felt that an agreed and shared action plan would help the group to prioritise and coordinate energies for  greatest impact, lead to a reduction in the incidence and impact of litter and the cost of litter removal. A clear framework and plan that identifies the high priorities for investment was developed in conjunction with Alluvium Consulting and released in  December 2020.

In October 2022 Neil Sutton was appointed as the Litter Action Lead to form a litter action plan with the working group.

A lot has happened in the last three months! We’re charging ahead with our litter reduction efforts and continuing to deliver on-ground actions against the Litter Action Plan. Here’s an update about what we’ve been up to.

Phase 1: Establishing key accumulation sites, engaging community in clean ups/ audits, gathering litter volume and type data

Clean Up Australia Day:

Clean Up Australia Day saw clean up events all along the creek from down in the lower catchment in Kensington, near Arden Street bridge, to up in the upper catchment in Roxburgh Park, and the Broadmeadows area. Over 13 events were held in total. Chain of Ponds were involved in organising the event in Woodlands Park (Essendon) with Moonee Valley Sustainability and Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek.

The woodlands park event was a huge success with over 7,000 items of litter collected, with the main category being soft plastic (with a whopping count of >5,000 peices), such as chocolate wrappers (which were mainly small peices due to shredding by mowers), followed by cigarettes (which were abundant by park benches and rotundas), closely followed hard plastic (such as food containers), paper fast food waste, aluminium cans and coffee cups.

The group was over 70 in size and consisted of two scout groups, Moonee Valley Sustainability and Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek volunteers and local residents. Everyone chipped in making the litter pickup, the litter sort and the stormwater drainage treasure hunt activities a huge success. A huge thanks to Moonee Valley Sustainability for all their great work to make the event happen.

Other Clean Up Events*:

*For dates of all clean-ups keep an eye on the Chain of Ponds Facebook page for updates.

Moonee Valley Sustainabilty ran another successful event at Five Mile Creek Reserve in Essendon. Over 30 people attended, over 4,000 items of litter collected, this site is a continual problem and this is why we plan to make Essendon - the Keilor/Buller Rd area the focus for our next litter education project. Great work MVS!

Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek and Chain of Ponds ran a clean-up event down in the West Melbourne area near the Docklands Studios. This event was to get an understanding of the impact Geoff the automatic river cleaner, was having downstream. The result was good, it was clear that very little litter was making it past Geoff. Prior to the Geoff trial (the trial of the automatic river cleaner in a location on the creek near Arden Street), this area was covered in litter from years of accumulation. There was still some remnant litter to clean-up which we plan to tackle at our next clean-up event down in that region (timing TBC).

Clean-ups are being organised for all the usual sites including: Five Mile Creek (Essendon), Westbreen Creek (Pascoe Vale), Otway Crescent Drain (West Meadows), Stubbs Street (Kensington).

We are now exploring new clean-up and audit sites in the Hume area, which are linked to Broadmeadows Central Shopping Centre. Watch this space to find out about the site we choose!

Our Partnership with Swinburn University

Our fantastic partnership with Swinburn University has started! Over a total of 150 students are working with us on quantitative litter audits across all our major source hotspot monitoring sites across the catchment (8 in total)as part of their Environmental Science Degrees. (These sites were previously audited through the RMIT University and Melbourne Water as part of a litter audit pilot project). The data from this project has now been gathered and is being analysed, watch this space.

Join the Moonee Ponds Creek Litter Clean-Up Team on Facebook here if you are interested to get involved in cleans and be part of the litter solution.

Goodbye Geoff (The Automatic River Cleaner)

We have said goodbye to Geoff. He is now back in Queensland where Ocean Crusaders are based. It has been an amazing trial and we (including Chain of Ponds, Melbourne Water, Community and perhaps even Ocean Crusaders) learnt a huge amount. It was amazing the amount of litter that 'Geoff' caught, and stopped from flowing down into the Bay. He has higlighted the need for systematic change in the catchment, litter generation is too high and waste management is not good enough. We will be working on tackling these issues. The old litter trap is back in place and we have meetings with Bandelong in March 2024 to discuss the next solution, we are pushing for a solution which is as good as Geoff, but this is challenging as stopping all the litter results in a very reosurce intensive approach which costs money. Watch this space....


Phase 2: Education programs, improvement to street litter maintenance and enforcement at hotspot sources

Westbreen Creek Litter education pilot in Pascoe Vale

We’re currently piloting a litter reduction education program in Pascoe Vale where West St, meets Pascoe St, there is a serious litter problem in this area and as such litter flows down from the street into the east branch of Westbreen Creek in KW Joyce Reserve (where we do our community clean-up audit events). The idea of this program is that by educating people on how stormwater is untreated, how litter damages our aquatic wildlife, and how the community can be the solution - we will be able to influence behaviour within the catchment and reduce the litter at the source. Westbreen Primary School, Pascoe Vale Secondary School and local retailers have shown they are passionate about supporting this initiative.

Both schools are incorporating litter education sessions into their classes, where Chain of Ponds supported by Merri Creek Managment Committe will be running education events and clean-up events along the streets and the creek during March and April 2024. Aditionally, retailers are engaging in a street clean and education session. Furthermore the Merri-bek council have committed to supporting these businesses through education and signage for reusable container options.

Initial signs are that the litter on the street is reducing but there is a long way to go to change the behaviour in this area which is a real source of litter to Westbreen Creek and the Moonee Ponds Creek downstream.

As part of this pilot program, here are some ‘hot of the press!’ litter campaign decals that you’ll start to see in this neighbourhood!

We’re working with Merri-bek Council to strategically place education messaging across the streets to encourage people to deposit their litter responsible and with businesses to try to encourage the use of re-usable containers. We will take the learnings from this pilot and apply them knowledge to other source hotspots – the next being Keilor Road shopping precinct linked to Five Mile Creek.

Neil and the Chain of Ponds litter working group are always looking for more volunteers to help. If you’re interested in joining in, email him direct at


Moonee Ponds Creek Litter Working Group Action Plan

An action plan as defined by the Chain of Ponds Litter Working group focusing on (1) building engagement, understanding and awareness of/around the litter problem, (2) educating people within hotspot areas to change behaviour, (3) change policy related to product production/consumption.


Moonee Ponds Creek Litter Assessment

A catchment-wide Litter Assessment produced for Chain of Ponds - by Alluvium Consulting


Hoffmans Road Main Drain - Litter Management Investigation

Includes Draft Litter Assessment Tool -  Melbourne Water / Alluvium Consulting


Building Site Management Across Councils - Nov 2021


Moreland Hotspots Reporting - Sep 21


Hume Hotspots Reporting - Sep 21


Melbourne Hotspots Reporting - Sep 21