Fitzroy High School's Climate Club initiated and ran a very successful Merri Creek litter Clean up late in 2019. 18 students from Years 7-10, with their teachers, met on Merri Creek near Rushall train station and worked diligently for over an hour removing a huge amount of litter from the banks of the creek. This rubbish most likely ended up here from stormwater drains, which carriy rain water and litter from our retail and residential areas into the creek. So, litter increases after heavy rainfall. Climate Club gathered 18kgs of litter which included 12½ kgs of landfill and 5½ kgs of recyclables.
To further understand where the litter is coming from, MCMC and Friends of Merri Creek are collecting data on the types of litter picked up and this is entered into a National Litter Database. Below are the five categories of litter and amounts collected by the Climate Club:
- Plastic single use remnants (202),
- Plastic food packaging - from lunches etc (144),
- Plastic drink bottles (54),
- Polystyrene pieces (43) and
- Paper and cardboard (32).
Because of the outstanding clean up work by Fitzroy's High's Climate Club, all those items will not now flow into the Merri Creek, or enter the Yarra River and thereby Port Phillip Bay.o further understand where the litter is coming from, MCMC and Friends of Merri Creek are collecting data on the types of litter picked up and this is entered into a National Litter Database. Below are the five categories of litter and amounts collected by the Climate Club:
Climate Club member, Isis Ryan, says: "climate issues are very well known at our school, and many students attend Climate Change rallies and protests. Our teachers, Leon and Duncan, organised Climate Club to further the progress that we as students can make for the environment. On our first meeting we wrote down ideas that we would like to see implemented in our community and around our school, including plans to get our school using 100% renewable energy, a movie screening to raise awareness, animating an educational video. And our most recent, Merri Creek Clean up which we hope to make a regular practice. We have had a handful of students come to Climate Club but right now we’re trying to advertise it around the school for more attendees."
The Climate Club plan to run more clean up events like this one, continuing to work with MCMC and the Friends of Merri Creek - which have resources and support to help the community run safe and effective litter clean up events in the Merri Creek catchment. To run a similar clean up event with your school or group please contact Julia Cirillo and read through the Friends of Merri Creek's community litter collections page.
This event was funded through the Victorian Government’s Port Phillip Bay Fund, and the City of Yarra.
(Written by Isis Ryan, student, Fitzroy High School and member of Fitzroy High's Climate Club, and Julia Cirillo, MCMC's Rapid Response to Litter Coordinator.)