By Lisa Field
When I created a community clean-up group in my neighbourhood in 2018, I didn’t imagine that I’d end up removing over five tonnes of litter, manage 100s of volunteers, and join a movement of passionate people working to influence governments for better pollution controls for waterways.
That group, Love Our Street 3030 – Werribee, is part of a network of Beach Patrol and Love Our Street litter collection volunteer groups in Victoria, operating in 40+ postcodes. These groups log their data in the LitterStopper app, which feeds into the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action’s LitterWatch database, that is used to advocate for changes and raise awareness to the issues of litter pollution.
I never wanted to count and record the litter we collected when I commenced Love Our Street 3030 as it took me away from actually collecting it, but it has been instrumental in advocating for change.
My work with Beach Patrol Australia and other organisations like Boomerang Alliance has been able to draw attention to the need for a container deposit scheme, which will now commence in November 2023. This container deposit scheme is expected to half the litter problem.
Volunteering with Love Our Street 3030 has also led to a career change. Since 2019 I’ve commenced a paid role with Werribee River Association, and while I still continue my volunteer role I also support a number of other groups and campaigns for healthy waterways .
The Werribee River Association supports five clean up groups, all managed by community volunteers, and part of the Beach Patrol Australia network. Volunteering within these groups is open to individuals, families and community or business groups, and are conducted on weekends. I can also help arrange other clean-ups as needed.
One of the best ways community members can help improve the health of our waterways is to join in with one of our clean-up groups or Landcare programs. The benefits can be both environmental, social or even support a career change.
This May the Love Our Street 3030 – Werribee group celebrates its 5th birthday and the clean-up location is behind Werribee shops, along the Werribee River, on Sunday 28 May, 10.30am – 12noon.