The issue of littering

Litter is anything that has been disposed of incorrectly. Litter pollutes our roadsides, chokes our waterways and can threaten wildlife. Littered areas are unpleasant to be in and often feel neglected or uncared for. Litter attracts more litter and can lead to other types of vandalism such as graffiti and property damage. It can also be a health risk, for example, broken glass can harm pedestrians and domestic animals and be dangerous for cyclists.

Littering is a crime under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the most visible sign of pollution.

The most commonly littered items are cigarette butts, plastic bags, packaging and take-away food and drink containers.

Cleaning up litter is a direct financial cost to local and state governments and therefore to the community. The annual clean-up bill in Victoria costs the community around $80 million.

The Environment Protection Agency has more information about litter and the effect it has on our environment.

If you see litter on the street, pick it up if it is safe to do so and put it in a bin before it enters the stormwater system.

What types of pollution can I report?

You can report litter thrown from motor vehicles to the EPA and they can issue an infringement notices to litterers. Fines range from $330 for an unlit cigarette or small piece of rubbish to $661 for a lit cigarette.

To report littering from a vehicle to the EPA :

When you report littering from a vehicle you need to provide the following details:

  • vehicle registration
  • vehicle colour, make and model
  • date, time and place of the offence
  • description of the litter, and whether it was thrown or dropped
  • who the offence was committed by (driver or passenger).

Community litter collections

Council supports community members who safely collect litter within Merri-bek. Find out how Council can help your community litter collection.

If you organise a community litter event be sure to register your event with Friends of Merri Creek. See the benefits of registering and how to access their litter collection kit and other resources on the community litter collection page.

Council encourages community members, schools and businesses to participate in the annual Clean Up Australia Day events and can provide resources for litter collection events every day of the year. Register your site with Clean Up Australia to receive a Clean Up Kit containing:

  • 10 clean up bags (half white bags and half yellow recycling bags)
  • 10  pairs of gloves
  • A sharps container (if requested)
  • A hi-vis vest (a fashionable safety accessory that helps people identify the Site Supervisor)
  • Paperwork kit
  • A small first aid kit
  • Hand sanitiser
  • A face mask