Wednesday evening saw a fitting finale to BSSC’s Litter Innovation Project. Since late July the students have been getting a handle on the shocking extent of global pollution—and have focused particularly on illegal litter dumping around Bendigo.

Sponsored by Sustainability Victoria, the project also partnered with Australian Conservation Volunteers, the EPA and Parks Victoria. Representatives of these groups celebrated and thanked the students for their important contribution to this issue and their community.

Steve Lynch from Sustainability Victoria stated how “fantastic it is to see the next generation running with projects like this.”

Students ran the evening and were represented by Drew McPhee and Dai Chi Wel as wonderful MCs. Tahlia Bentley-Dean described the extent of global pollution problems, reminding the large gathering that we now, “eat drink and breathe a plastic world.”

The evening also included Gnaden Kelly presenting Australian Conservation Volunteers  with a donation from money raised at the recent VCAL Market Day.

Alex Wells, Adam Smolak and Daryl Hodson from Australian Conservation Volunteers were impressed with the way the students had taken on the project, and Lachlan Badura and Matt Sobey from Parks Victoria spoke glowingly of the commitment, engagement and enthusiasm of everyone involved.

“There are opportunities that will flow on for land managers from this project, and I thank you as we all strive for zero rubbish dumping,” Matt explained. “Don’t lose momentum. Ask people, ‘Have you seen A Plastic Ocean?’ and keep up the great work,” Lachlan added.

Given that the huge pile of rubbish the students collected cost a mere $11 to take to the transfer station, it was sobering to realise that this side-project demonstrated how difficult it is for people to estimate how much a ute-load of rubbish will weigh—and therefore cost—at the tip. This may be a significant factor in people opting for illegal dumping.

A veritable feast followed in the courtyard of the La Trobe Visual Arts Centre where students, their families, and staff mingled with environmental specialists and admired the photographs, installations and posters that document this valuable project.