DPI Victoria - Clean waterways are everyone’s business

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Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith has congratulated traders from five inner metropolitan council areas, who along with the Metropolitan Waste Management Group, Melbourne Water and the cities of Boroondara, Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra have joined the fight to reduce litter and improve water quality in the Yarra River.

Mr Smith said the Clean Waterways are Everyone’s Business project was the latest initiative of the Lower Yarra Litter Strategy, a $177,000 partnership between state and local government, Melbourne Water, Metropolitan Waste Management Group and businesses.

'The Lower Yarra Litter Strategy and projects like this are great examples of the Victorian Coalition Government’s focus on supporting partnerships to tackle litter and stormwater pollution and improve the quality of our environment,' Mr Smith said.

'The strategy combines actions outlined in both the Coalition Government’s $1 billion, five-year A Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay Action Plan and the recently launched Victorian Litter Strategy 2012-14.

'The Clean Waterways are Everyone’s Business project will involve traders in areas identified as litter and pollution hot spots within the five participating councils of Boroondara, Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra.

'Litter, cigarette butts, cooking oils and cleaning chemicals entering the stormwater drains of busy neighbourhood shopping and dining strips can travel many kilometres down drains and creeks into the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay.'

Mr Smith said in addition to improving local infrastructure and services by working with councils, waste management, catchment and water service providers, the project would provide tailored practical advice and support to help traders manage litter and stormwater pollution in and around their business.

'Litter and Stormwater Officers will work with participating businesses to identify the best solutions for their operations,' Mr Smith said.

'These could range from tips on simple on-the-spot training for staff, educational materials or advice on improvements to infrastructure such as the provision of butt bins for staff or windproof ashtrays for customers.'