Melbourne strains the drains – again!

Tangaroa Blue Foundation has been successful in securing funding for Let’s Strain the Drains – Phase 2 through the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund, delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government. The project will be delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation in partnership with Cleanwater Group and with support from the Cities of Melbourne, Wyndham, Hobsons Bay, Moreland, Kingston, Maribyrnong & Greater Dandenong, the Vicinity Centres and University of New South Wales.

Let’s Strain the Drain projects aim to close the gap in information around the specific land-based sources of plastic and other debris leaking into the environment. This is achieved by sorting & counting the debris caught in at-source litter traps installed in stormwater infrastructure using the Australian Marine Debris Initiative methodology.

Phase 1 of the Let’s Strain the Drains project was a Victorian-first monitoring project of marine debris aiming at collecting data on the quantities and types of debris captured by 120 at-source litter traps in the stormwater infrastructure of six metropolitan councils around Port Phillip Bay in 2019-2020. During the project period, a total of 75,931 macro-litter items and 677,114 micro-litter items were captured. The unique dataset helped us to;

– Improve knowledge and understanding of land-based marine debris travelling through the stormwater network
– Prevent further pollution by capturing pollutants at the source; address gaps in knowledge for local and state government agencies
– Teach volunteers about marine debris and terrestrial pollution, as well as how to be citizen scientists and collect data according to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI).

A detailed result report of the Phase 1 of the project can be read here

Phase 2 of the Let’s Strain the Drains project will run over a period of 18 months starting September 2021, continuing to identify sources and types of pollutants from a total of 158 at-source litter traps. Additionally eight Source Reduction Plans focusing on key litter items will be implemented in the participating LGA’s in order to influence behaviour change that reduces the sources of plastic pollution, litter and illegal dumping as well as reducing waste generation.

The data collected during Phase 2 will also be used to assess the effectiveness of SRPs implemented as well as improve current understanding of the flow of litter into our waterways and Port Phillip Bay.

We hope that this project will show the value of investing in at-source litter traps, collecting data and implementing SRPs based on local data.

There will be plenty of volunteering opportunities for anyone based in Melbourne throughout the project to come and give us a hand in the litter audits starting October 2021, so make sure to follow us on Facebook & Instagram to stay up to date with the latest events, or register your interest by emailing

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