Litter is a hazard both to human health (e.g. broken glass, used syringes) as well as to ecosystems and the life in the estuary, from dolphins, to sea grass, to schools of fish (e.g. plastics and cigarette butts).

Stormwater systems and urban rivulets are the main way that litter gets swept into the estuary.  Floating plastics accumulate, sometimes in very ugly rafts, on sheltered beaches and bays.

Most people do not litter on purpose so bein aware of how litter accidentally gets into the water is very important.  Fines can be used to stop somebody littering on purpose but if we all keep an eye out from litter sources and either fix them or report them, less litter will end up in the river.  Councils also have physical controls such as floating litter traps on rivulets or gross pollutant traps in the stormwater system (big underground tanks that collect and store litter).  These tanks take a lot of time and energy to clean out and maintain so it is best to stop the litter in the first place.  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 DEP cleans up in Prince of Wales Bay, Glenorchy, with many workers from the nearby businesses in area for Clean Up Australia Day every year - come along next year! 

The Derwent Estuary Program has supported litter management in a number of ways, including securing grants for floating litter traps on urban rivulets, providing training for Council staff, and promoting the use of contemporary gross pollutant traps (GPTs).

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.

Further reading

What you can do to help

You can notify the Environment Protection Authority of a pollution incident or lodge a complaint.

Report littering

Register or join a Clean-up Australia Day site – the first Sunday of March every year!

Clean-up Australia Day