By Emily Johnston
More than 10 tonnes of rubbish were pulled from Perth’s waterways and foreshores in 2013-14.
Figures released by the Swan River Trust show that the amount of rubbish has gone up two tonnes since 2012-13.
Aquatic biologist Dr Jane Chambers says that rubbish has harsh consequences for the river life.
“Fishing line gets caught in the fish gills, fins and around bird legs,” said Dr Chambers.
“Wouldn’t it be great if people picked up one item of rubbish when they saw it?”
Jessica Riley, a volunteer worker with the Swan River Trust Prawn Watch program, has noticed vast amounts of litter in the river when conducting sampling in the waterways.
“I see a lot of rubbish … everything from tyres, to fishing line, to shoes and wine glasses. Just a lot of carelessness,” says Miss Riley.
Dr Chambers believes that education and building awareness are important parts of the strategy to reduce rubbish.
“People do not usually deliberately pollute. It is more about just thinking about what happens to material that is dropped,” says Dr Chambers.
The Keep Australia Beautiful Council encourages people to report litterers, as it is an offence to litter under the Litter Act (1979).
According to the Keep Australia Beautiful Council litter laws, the penalty for dumping a cigarette butt is a $200 fine for an individual.
“School programs are great because kids are terrific at educating their parents and are often passionate about dolphins and animals that are harmed,” said Dr Chambers.
“We need to empower people to do the right thing… simple steps like putting fish stencils on the storm water drains reminding people that the drain channels into the river, will help.”