Support the Great Polystyrene Audit!

, By Yarra

We’ve launched the Great Polystyrene Audit

Polystyrene is one of the most littered items ending up in our waterways. The Port Phillip Ecocentre’s Clean Bay Blueprint estimates that in total, 1,934,208,000 litter flows into Port Phillip Bay annually from the Yarra rivers’ surface waters. 15% of this number is polystyrene!

The combination of being both a lightweight, petrochemical and brittle material, means that polystyrene is elusive & pervasive. The ecological impacts of polystyrene unfolds gradually over time, and is widespread and devastating for waterways and wildlife.

In response to the reports on polystyrene, we are continuing our investigation and documentation of the pervasiveness of the material, its sources and how we can reduce its threat on the environment.

Part of this research includes collecting samples from multiple bandalong litter traps that sit in the Yarra River.

Although we know polystyrene is a major threat to the health of the River, we need to make sure that we are continually assessing the extent of polystyrene in the environment and waterways. Polystyrene audits are a vital component of establishing a baseline for our research and providing evidence of pollution. 

For a short period this year we were able to meet up with our wonderful team of volunteers and conduct polystyrene audits together. Unfortunately, over the past 6 months, phase 2 of our polystyrene pollution project has been greatly impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions. We are in yet another lockdown (with uncertainty over when it will be lifted) and so our ability to host in person audit litter samples is no longer an option. So now, we are seeking alternate ways to complete our research and include the community in our project.

We are preparing to send litter samples out to volunteers and the community. Move over puzzles and netflix, this activity will help to keep people busy during lockdown, educate people about litter and contribute to vital research that is linked to Melbourne’s iconic River!

Our Great Polystyrene Audit will help us to purchase equipment and to deliver the samples to our helpers.

Please join us and support our research by donating or becoming a citizen scientist and conducting a polystyrene audit.