OzFish has long been cleaning up our favourite fishing spots on the riverbank and pulling rubbish out of the river. The OzFish River Repair Bus already collects a trailer load of rubbish each week.

LNow we are also turning to the source of the problem – reducing the amount of littering happening in the first place. OzFish has been consulting with fishers and the community through a range of survey’s, meetings and events to work out what is happening and start collecting ideas for solutions.

The business case has identified:

  • The impacts of litter in the Wambuul Macquarie River, including observations from typical conditions and flood conditions  
  • Sources of litter in the catchment, including hotspot locations and key litter types 
  • Current state of action on litter prevention, from state to local level 
  • Who can play a great role in litter prevention 
  • Potential opportunities for local action 

Why do we care about the litter problem?

  • Recreational anglers are passionate about protecting fish habitat
  • Fish are consuming microplastics (small pieces of plastic), and with more and more plastic waste entering the river, this problem will increase. Similar to sea birds, this can mean fish eat too much plastic and have no room left to eat proper food.
  • We are committed to making rivers clean for everyone to enjoy

OzFish is working with the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, which has conducted a lot of research into what works in preventing people from littering. The research shows the following helps:

  • Cleanliness: the cleaner a spot is, the less people litter
  • Infrastructure: bins and signage about littering help reduce littering
  • Enforcement: fines for littering
  • Education and awareness: people need to know the problems that litter causes, and that it is not acceptable
  • Involvement: involving numerous groups and individuals in strategies and actions to take care of a place


Community bins:

OzFish plans to establish community-run bins in highly-littered, popular fishing spots in Dubbo. The sites are inaccessible to Council trucks, hence the community deciding to install and empty bins at these sites

Litter Prevention Network:

OzFish is establishing a Litter Prevention Network in the Dubbo LGA. Now that we have a business case and know the problem in detail, a Litter Prevention Network will bring together all stakeholders who are keen to develop a litter prevention strategy for the region and implement litter prevention projects. 

Litter Citizen Science:

OzFish is running an inland rivers version of the Key Littered Items Study. The Key Littered Items Study contributes data to the state government so that they can see if government litter reduction targets are being met. The data is also used to identify which single use plastics should be banned next. However, the data is currently collected from coastal areas only. OzFish has the fantastic opportunity to lead the way by working with experts to create an inland rivers version of this study, starting in Dubbo and then rolling out to other inland areas. 


MAY 2023 | DAILY LIBERAL – Five Dubbo sites selected for first ever Key Littered Items Study for inland rivers

What do a beer bottle from the 1970s, a squeaky rubber chicken and a folding camping chair have in common? They’re all items professor Steve Smith from Southern Cross University and Bron Powell from OzFish dug out from the bank of the Macquarie River as they set up for a first-of-its kind litter study. “This is a really interesting site because we’re getting a huge mix of old and new litter, and this is a demonstration that litter can be in the environment for a very long time,” he told the Daily Liberal.”We’ve got a rubber chook which is obviously recent. But a lot of the old beer bottles have their date stamped on the bottom

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JULY 2022 | Local community key to reducing river litter

Local communities are being asked for their insights into tackling litter in and along the Wambuul Macquarie River as part of a new OzFish initiative to clean up the waterway. OzFish, Australia’s recreational fishing charity, is hosting a number of upcoming community engagement events. These events are the first step in a process to develop an action plan to address the litter problem facing the Wambuul Macquarie River.

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With our partners, including BCF, Shimano and the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, we are well placed to make big changes and ensure fishers lead the way in keeping our waterways clean.

This project is supported by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority’s ‘Waste Less Recycle More’ initiative funded by the waste levy and NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts.