Litter is visually and aesthetically unpleasant and constitutes a hazard both to human health (e.g. broken glass, used syringes) as well as to marine life (e.g. plastics and cigarette butts).
Stormwater pipes and urban rivulets are the primary conduit for litter to the estuary, where floating plastics tend to accumulate on sheltered beaches and bays.
Litter can be managed in a number of different ways, including education and awareness campaigns, fines and other enforcement activities, and physical controls such as floating litter traps on rivulets or gross pollutant traps integrated within the stormwater system. Litter clean-up activities such as Clean-up Australia Day are also a valuable way to both engage the community and tackle accumulated litter in public spaces.
The Derwent Estuary Program has supported litter management in a number of ways, including securing grants for floating litter traps on urban rivulets, and auditing and supporting installation of gross pollutant traps at a number of sites.
The DEP coordinates litter clean-ups with its partners in association with the annual Clean Up Australia Day. In recent years the focus has been on Prince of Wales Bay.
In Tasmania, littering is regulated via the Litter Act 2007, and the Litter (Infringement Offences) Regulations 2020 specify on-the-spot fines for offences in the Act. A Litter Hotline has also been set up to report litter incidents, including items thrown from cars and boats.