How Polluted are the Rivers of Sydney

Don’t you want a picturesque view along the shorelines of Sydney’s rivers? Eating and playing with families and friends would become a memorable occasion. Aside from providing aesthetics, rivers play a vital role in the environment. They bring water to communities, farmlands, and ecosystems, and serve as habitats for fishes and other freshwater animals.

However, illegal dumping and littering have become significant waste management issues that pollute bodies of water. In fact, plastics alone account for 8 million tonnes of ocean litters every year. Due to that, 60% of seabirds and 100% of turtles have plastics inside their system. Pretty disturbing, right?

Furthermore, about 80% of the world’s wastewater – mostly untreated – ends up polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans. If we don’t start to manage water pollution now, it will haunt us more in the future. 

Are you wondering how polluted are the rivers of Sydney and its corresponding impacts? Aussie Junk is here to answer them.

What is Water Pollution?

Water pollution happens when hazardous chemicals and microorganisms contaminate streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans. It degrades water quality that is unsafe for human consumption, especially drinking. 

There are several causes of water pollution and here are some of them:

  • Illegal dumping and littering
  • Sewage and wastewater from domestic and commercial use 
  • Industrial waste
  • Mining activities
  • Oil spills
  • Chemical fertilisers and pesticides
  • Burning of fossil fuels
  • Landfill and underground storage leakage

State of Sydney Rivers

Aside from towering skyscrapers, office buildings, and premium residential houses, Sydney has several rivers surrounding its area. Nepean, Kowmung, Woronora, and Hawkesbury rivers offer leisure and recreation for nearby residents. However, that is not the case for Parramatta and Cooks rivers as they suffer from water pollution, mostly caused by illegally dumped wastes. 

Cooks River as One of the Most Polluted River in Australia

In the 1930s, Cooks River suffered from the dumped chemicals and litter from heavy industries. After the 1970s, fishes and marine creatures died, and birds abandoned the river. 

The Cooks River catchment is about 100 square kilometres and 90% urbanised. Most of its surrounding establishments are residential, commercial, and industrial, whose pavement is mostly covered by concrete, asphalt, and hard-surfaced materials. 

As there are no penetrable surfaces that can absorb water from rainfall, Cooks River is responsible for catching about 68% of the stormwater. As the water runoffs from roofs, driveways, and roads, it picks up chemical residues from the drainage then enters into the rivers. 

Today, councils are doing a rehabilitation program to restore the polluted Cooks River. They are focusing on reducing the volume of untreated stormwater and pollutants. Then, recover the Cooks River in a way that it looks and functions like a living body of water. 

Pollution in Parramatta River

Parramatta River has a total catchment area of 252.4 square kilometres. It is the main tributary of Sydney Harbour, which is a branch of Port Jackson. Until the 1970s, Parramatta River was an open drain for chemical factories, metal manufacturers, and electricity retailers. Because of them, water quality had become worse, and freshwater organisms began to relocate. 

As the surrounding communities develop, Parramatta River continues to receive harmful chemicals, leading to its death. Here are some of the substances found in its water:

  • Dioxins
  • Lead
  • Phthalates
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)
  • DDT 

How Can We Save Polluted Rivers? 

Dirty and polluted rivers reflect a lot about the state of a city. They can also become a health hazard for nearby communities. In particular, contamination of household water can occur. That’s why we need to recover polluted rivers as much as possible. With little and simple ways, we can help save them. You can follow these steps:

Avoid and Report Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is a punishable offence. NSW authorities set $7500 for on-the-spot fines and a maximum of $250,000 for grave cases. Furthermore, it doesn’t stop with you. You should report anyone caught littering and dumping wastes in the streets and oceans. 

Proper Waste Management

Proper waste management also has a crucial role in reducing pollution. Segregating and discarding rubbish types into their designated bins help council pick-ups organise and transport wastes to landfills or recycling centres. In this way, we can avoid illegal dumping.  

Hire a Rubbish Removal Company

Dealing with piles of rubbish can be quite a hassle. Most people will choose the most convenient option and disregard the law for waste disposal. Again, illegal dumping has penalties that you should avoid. So, if you want for hassle-free waste pick-up, Aussie Junk is the right answer for you. 

With a trusted rubbish removal company, you don’t have anything to worry but point on the things you need to discard. 


Sydney is one of the most developed cities in Australia. However, it generates too much rubbish. And Sydneysiders cannot control the issues of illegal dumping and littering – may it be from individuals or industrial plants. These cause water pollution on Sydney rivers that we should at least not aggravate. Furthermore, we should support authorities on their efforts to restore rivers and other bodies of water. 

Here at Aussie Junk, we can take your wastes and transport them in the eco-friendliest ways possible. After your call, we’ll come and personally sort your rubbish according to their classification. We avoid landfills and take them to recycling centres and waste recovery facilities as much as possible. 

For more than 20 years now, we offer high quality rubbish removal services. Our professional and skilled removalists are Sydney’s leading experts for excellent and efficient rubbish removal services

Let’s save Sydney rivers with proper waste management and disposal. Contact us at ‪0435 569 921‬ or send us a message via email

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Aussie Junk

Aussie Junk is a proud local Sydney rubbish removal company. We help educate Aussies on the importance of environmental topics such as recycling, hygiene, personal and social well-being and sustainability. Free up more valuable space in your life by calling our local team to help clear and clean out your junk today.

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