Stormwater runoff: the biggest contributor to waste in our oceans

Stormwater runoff: the biggest contributor to waste in our oceans

Sydney Harbour

By Lottie Dalziel

We are all aware of the horrific and continual pollution of our creeks. rivers and oceans. We see it, we read about it, and we share the horrifying images of plant, marine and wildlife diseased, decimated and dying. 

Ben Pearson, Senior Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection Australia highlights that we are at crisis point. "Unfortunately, the world's oceans have become a convenient dumping ground for pollution and it's harming the animals who live there. Change needs to occur!"


So we know the problem but how many of us are actually aware of the real cause?

Stormwater runoff! 49% of Australians believe it's from illegal discharging or dumping but it's actually polluted water overflowing from our cities, suburbs and country towns into our once pristine waterways.

Yes, we have wastewater processes in place but too often the implementation and maintenance of these facilities are neglected.

Ocean Protect is a company who analyse and develop site-specific solutions to manage this issue in the built environment. And to them, the next step is clear.... unlike our water.


"Making the maintenance of stormwater infrastructure and roads a legal and enforceable requirement would save around 500 standard wheelie bins of pollution (240 litres) reaching the ocean per day."

Overdevelopment, politics, industry, and big business must be held accountable for their actions and lack of them, but the blame doesn't stop here. We tend to rely on the authorities as residents and ratepayers to fix the problem but let's attack the source and make the job a whole lot easier.

We have a huge part to play, there are so many things we can all be doing to help minimise our impact on the stormwater runoff fiasco and as usual its education and changing habits.

Wherever there is excess, there is waste. Wherever there is waste there is the associated problem of its tremendous negative impact on our environment and thus how to deal with it.

Stormwater runoff is the unwitting carrier of our waste and our waterways are its unwilling recipient.

Head to our how-to section to find out more ways to reduce your waste. Let's put in the plug before we all go down the drain.

Listen to more about stormwater runoff and microplastics in this episode of Sustainability Further. 

About the author

Lottie Dalziel is the founder and editor in chief of Banish. She has a passion for the environment and wants to help educate and inspire individuals to make small changes towards a more sustainable future. Stay up to date with her latest challenges on Instagram

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.