Litter at Steel Park Marrickville.

Litter left by one group of people at Steel Park Marrickville.

I just came across a wonderful initiative by the Victorian Department of Environment & Primary Industries called, ‘Love the Yarra.’

‘Love the Yarra’ is part of a large-scale education program, aimed at all ages, to prevent litter & other rubbish entering the Yarra River via stormwater & also by general littering.  The initiative is designed to educate the whole community about the environmental aspects, wildlife & benefits of the river, as well as each person’s responsibility for the health of the Yarra.

Twelve artists were contracted to spray-paint images beside stormwater drains to educate the passing public that the drain they are looking at actually carries stormwater all the way to the Yarra River & that includes any litter & other substances.

I really like that these are beautiful images of nature & the wildlife that live in & around & depend on the river.  I think that the artworks will instill pride in the environmental & have enormous educational value.

There is also a self-guided ‘Stormwater Art Trail,’ which would appeal to both residents & tourists alike.  Already Melbourne tourism includes street art & this is just another level.  This is something I would definitely do when I next visit Melbourne.  You can watch a short video on the Stormwater Art Trail here –

Another component of ‘Love the Yarra’ is the creation of a large sculpture created by children & environmental artist Peter Day.  Being involved in such an initiative educates young people & goes a long way to creating environmentally responsible adults.  You can watch a short & very beautiful video about the sculpture here –

In the past Marrickville Council has had signs spray-painted on some stormwater drains alerting people that litter ends up in the Cooks River, but I think most, if not all of these have worn away.  It was one of the first things I noticed when we moved here.

I think it would be great if Council considered doing something similar.  The ‘Keep Australia Beautiful’ campaign needs to be revived in my opinion, but smaller projects like these can create positive change.

The riverside parks are bursting with people on the weekends  & litter is a big problem in a number of these parks.  Thankfully Marrickville Council has been doing extra work to try to keep the mess under control.  But the fact remains, if the people who used these parks were helped to consider their impact on the river, there might be less littering.  This “Do the Right Thing’ anti-litter campaign ad from the 1990s shows how little has changed with this issue.  See –

Lastly, watch this 2-minute video, ‘All the Cups – by Jack,’ a 6-year-old Texan boy about the stormwater pollution that entered Corpus Christi Bay after only one-inch of rain. See if it doesn’t move you.

A confronting anti-litter sign. Source unknown.

A confronting anti-litter sign. Source unknown.