Water Quality of Sydney Rivers: Alarming Facts

Do you enjoy casual leisure time along riversides? Please think first before leaving that rubbish behind. Human activities such as littering and illegal dumping of domestic, commercial, and industrial waste have polluted rivers. They cause substandard water quality that affects nearby communities and marine life.   

As one of the largest waste generators, Sydney is not excused from littering issues. Local council waste collectors have a specific schedule in picking up rubbish. And since some people don’t want to accumulate waste in their backyard, they illegally dump them on the streets, rivers, or oceans. 

Moreover, some big corporations that process chemicals for their products directly dump their wastewater on Sydney rivers.

n fact, parts of Parramatta and Cooks rivers have been dead for several decades now because of the substances from factories and plants since the early 20th century. 

These chemicals affect the lives of freshwater inhabitants and those who depend on it so that you can understand further, Aussie Junkpresents these alarming facts about the water quality of Sydney rivers. 

Fact #1: Sydney Water Pulls About 2900 Wheelie Bins Full of Plastic Bottles Every Year 

Sydney Water is an organisation that keeps water channels healthy and clean for the people of Sydney. Each year, they remove about a million plastic bottles from waterways. That is equivalent to 2900 wheelie bins at their maximum capacity. 

It’s pretty alarming that these collected plastic bottles are mostly from littering. Meaning, authorities and Sydneysiders must act together to reduce plastic waste in general. For instance, the councils must scatter rubbish bins strategically, and citizens should properly segregate and throw their junks. 

Fact #2: Sydney Water Spends Approximately $420,000 Each Year to Clear Water Pollutants 

Sydney Water spends about $420,000 yearly to clean waterways and remove rubbish from gross pollutant traps. Moreover, they allocate $150,000 of this to water bottles. Other councils also consume the same figure for clearing their respective water channels. 

Typical water pollutants such as cigarette butts, packaging materials, and food waste are easy to pick up. But that is not the case for liquid waste and chemicals as they require special treatment. Means, the council would spend more to save the river. 

Fact #3: Cooks River is one of the Most Polluted Waterways in Australia

Cooks River, located in south-eastern Sydney, is a tributary of Botany Bay. Since the early 20th century, residential, commercial, and industrial industries have depended on their water and sanctuary for living, recreation, and urban sanitation. After the 1970s, fish, birds, and other aquatic animals abandoned some of its parts due to water pollution. 

Based on a study conducted in 2011, the water quality of Cooks River was generally substandard. Researchers also recorded a low amount of dissolved oxygen and high concentrations of phosphate and E.coli.   

Fact #4: Bushfires can Aggravate Water Pollution in Sydney Rivers

Bushfires have been a common occurrence in Australia. Aside from air pollution, they also aggravate water pollution as their debris could end up in waterways. According to Stuart Khan – an environmental engineer and water quality security expert – Sydney’s reservoir full of soil, sediment, and ash pose a risk for water treatment processes. 

Rainfall and heavy winds can carry bushfire debris to rivers, dams, and oceans that could clog the sewer system and generate substandard water quality. Transporting harmful substances and chemicals to waterways are dangerous for nearby communities, especially on their drinking water.  


Sydney, as a metro city, generates a large amount of rubbish. But, it is not an excuse for us to dump our wastes in rivers and waterways as they contribute to water pollution. With the alarming facts about Sydney rivers’ water quality, we should not tolerate illegal dumping and littering. 

Here at Aussie Junk, we know how crucial proper waste management is to solve water pollution. We render top-grade, fast, and efficient rubbish removal services tailored to your needs. 

No matter where you are in Sydney or what types of rubbish you have, we have the right tools and equipment ready. We also follow the NSW EPA Guidelines for safe waste disposal and transport.

Do you need emergency rubbish pick up? We offer same-day rubbish removal! Don’t hesitate to contact us at ‪0435 569 921‬ or send us your enquiries via email.  

Aussie Junk

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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