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Taronga Zoo launches ‘Litter Free Rivers’ campaign

Taronga Zoo launches ‘Litter Free Rivers’ campaign
June 17, 2019

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is encouraging local businesses and schools to join the Litter Free Rivers campaign and reduce plastic pollution in the region.

A campaign designed to protect local environments from plastic pollution, Litter Free Rivers is tackling one of the greatest environmental challenges facing our generation and safe-guarding the Platypus from extinction.

The aim of the campaign is to work to reduce plastic pollution at the source, by encouraging individuals, businesses and schools to move away from single-use and disposable plastic items in favour of reusable items.

Zoo Director Steve Hinks explained “it’s all about reducing the source rather than dealing with the problem once it is in our waterways. For every one less straw, coffee cup or plastic bottle in our community, that is one less item to deal with in the form of rubbish.

“Litter Free Rivers is an opportunity for everyone in the community to make a difference to the local environment because right now plastic pollution is a problem that is threatening waterways and local wildlife across NSW.” 

The program provides individuals, businesses and schools with a toolkit to help them get started on ways to reduce single-use plastic in the home, workplace or school by switching from disposable to reusable.

Hinks advised “we are encouraging businesses and schools to choose to reuse. The majority of litter comes from items designed to be used once. Fortunately there are many reusable alternatives to almost every disposable product."

The Macquarie River is the life blood of the region and so many native wildlife including the Platypus rely on a healthy waterway to survive.  

However, Hicks added "Australians use one billion single-use, disposable coffee cups per year, generally speaking, most of those are not biodegradable; they last for hundreds of years. We use 2.7 billion plastic straws per year in this country, again they take up to 450 years to break down.

"There are issues with plastics getting into the food chain through species such as fish, frogs, and amphibians and amphibians are most prevalent on the list of endangered species, and there are one million species across the world facing extinction."

“Over the past two years Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been making a concerted effort to reduce the amount of single-use plastic on site. We’ve replaced plastic straws with certified paper straws, we have removed plastic sauce sachets from the café, changed to corn-starch based takeaway containers and worked with suppliers to provide pies and sausage rolls without plastic wrapping.

“We are constantly looking at our operation to see what we can do to improve our environmental sustainability measures as there are positive outcomes for both the business and the environment. We would like to encourage other businesses to do the same.

"Ultimately the goal is a healthy, clean river that not only ensures a healthy future for the Platypus, but for the communities that rely on our rivers."

For more information visit

Image above of platypus: Aquatic species across Australia are impacted by river pollution, leading to injury, starvation or death.

Related Articles

2nd June 2019 - Taronga Zoo helps educate students on protection of endangered species

16th May 2019 - University of Queensland predicts climate change could cause the extinction of 26 species

6th May 2019 - Taronga Zoo celebrates record school holiday visitation numbers

4th March 2019 - Taronga Zoo Seal Show wins award for Public Engagement

30th January 2019 - Taronga Zoo Director recognised for commitment to wildlife conservation

21st January 2019 - Taronga Zoo to acknowledge critically endangered species on Australia Day

3rd January 2019 - Aussie Ark invites guest to view Australia’s most endangered species in wild environments

5th December 2018 - Taronga Zoo helps advance understanding of protected species

7th September 2018 - Land clearance to cause Koala extinction in NSW by 2050

28th May 2018 - Zoos and aquariums look to reduce plastic waste

3rd March 2016 - United Nations marks World Wildlife Day with a global call to save endangered species

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