Media release: We couldn’t be keener on our river cleaner!

, By Yarra

Advocates and stewards* of Melbourne’s rivers celebrate the trial of ‘Geoff’ a new automatic river cleaner working to remove tons of rubbish from the Yarra, Birrarung River.

Just arrived from the Ocean Crusaders in Brisbane, ‘Geoff’ is moored on the Yarra, Birrarung next to Melbourne Aquarium for the next three months. He has a distinctive water wheel driving a conveyor belt to collect rubbish and put it straight in a floating skip.

“’Geoff’’ collects about a skip of rubbish each week, or around three cubic metres a month! He’s also an impressive visual reminder to everyone that litter and pollution are a massive problem for Melbourne’s waterways.” – Charlotte Sterrett, Yarra Riverkeeper.

“Trash wheels are found all over the globe, with Mr Trashy in Baltimore, being particularly well known. We’d like to see a ‘Geoff’ on all our major waterways permanently. The Yarra/Birrarung, the Maribyrnong, the Werribee and others like, Moonee Ponds Creek.” – Nicole Kowalczyk, Maribyrnong Riverkeeper.

“Having ‘Geoff’ collect litter close to the mouth of the river is only one part of the litter solution. We need to stop litter at its source, including the billions of pieces of microplastics that enter our waterways each year.” – Neil Blake, Port Phillip Baykeeper.

“Working day and night, Geoff will be in areas where litter hasn’t previously been targeted like outside the Melbourne Aquarium. In his current location Geoff has been busy removing litter such as plastic bottles, face masks, plastic bags and e-scooter helmets” – Sarah Eggleton, Parks Victoria.

Years of research by environment groups such as the Yarra Riverkeeper and Port Phillip EcoCentre (home of Port Phillip Baykeeper) have found that litter pollution is on the rise despite many efforts to curb it. We need innovative solutions now, more than ever, as Melbourne’s population grows and our climate changes.

This project is supported by Parks Victoria and the Victorian Government, through funding from the Australian Government.

Interviews and photos can be arranged before or at a media opportunity to be held 10am, Friday 12 May, on the river side of Melbourne Aquarium:

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Charlotte Sterrett, Yarra Riverkeeper – 0428 007 779

*Advocates and stewards include the Yarra Riverkeeper Association, the Maribyrnong River and Waterways Association, The Werribee River Association, the Port Philip Ecocentre and Chain of Ponds.