Sydney Water pulls over 1 million plastic bottles from waterways

Media release

7 August

Sydney Water is removing over 1 million plastic bottles from Sydney waterways each year and is calling on customers to help with the problem.

Robert Allen, Service Delivery Officer at Sydney Water said, ‘we are removing rubbish from 70 gross pollutant traps every few weeks from waterways across Sydney’.

‘On average, we remove about 700 cubic metres or about 7 tonnes of plastic bottles from our traps each year, which is the equivalent of about 2,900 wheelie bins full of plastic bottles! Placed side-to-side this number of wheelie bins would stretch for over one kilometre!

‘Sydney Water spends about $420,000 each year removing rubbish from our gross pollutant traps and about $150,000 of this is spent just to remove and appropriately dispose of plastic bottles.

‘These are the figures just for Sydney Water. Councils across Sydney are facing the same problems with similar costs to remove plastic bottles from their litter traps’, said Mr Allen.

Canterbury Bankstown Administrator Richard Colley, said the litter boom on the Cooks River was one of the most effective ways to capture waste.

‘Since its installation in August 2014, the litter boom on the Cooks River off Old Sugar House Rd, Canterbury has captured 1,100 cubic metres of rubbish from the river, the equivalent of 4,500 household wheelie bins,’ Mr Colley said.

‘Council continues to work hard in collaboration with Sydney Water to restore the Cooks River to health, and over time, we have made significant improvements.

‘The litter booms and traps will not only reduce the amount of rubbish floating in the water, but it will improve water quality at the site, downstream and in Botany Bay. Local wildlife will also appreciate the improved water quality.’

Peter Munro, co-ordinator of the Mudcrabs – Cooks River Eco-volunteers said, ‘while we prefer that litter didn’t get into the Cooks River in the first place, the litter booms are removing large amounts of the floating litter, improving the health and appearance of the River and protecting our wildlife. Thank you Sydney Water and the City of Canterbury Bankstown Council’.

Robert Allen added ‘Sydney Water and the Sydney councils can do our part to remove as much litter from waterways as possible, but if residents want truly clean waterways it is up to all of us to take action.

‘Sydney has some of the best drinking water in the world. So, choosing tap water over bottled water is not only a safe choice, it’s one that can significantly reduce the number of plastic bottles being used in the first place and if everyone disposed of their rubbish correctly, it wouldn’t end up flowing into our rivers and waterways’, said Mr Allen.