More than 113 tonnes of rubbish was removed from the Georges River catchment in 2016-17 - the equivalent in weight of a fully-grown blue whale.
The figure was revealed in the annual report of the Georges River Combined Councils Committee which represents the eight councils responsible for the river catchment - Bayside, Georges River, Sutherland Shire, Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Campbelltown and Wollondilly which cover the 960 square-kilometre catchment.
The committee’s Riverkeeper Program is responsible for removing rubbish from land surrounding the river and its tributaries, preventing rubbish from being transported to downstream waterways.
Of the 113 tonnes of rubbish removed by the eight member councils, Bayside Council removed 12 tonnes of rubbish, Georges River Council 11 tonnes and Sutherland Shire Council eight tonnes.
The report breaks the figures down into local subcatchment showing that the Botany Bay foreshore saw 5.5 per cent of the rubbish removed, Kurnell and Towra 1.6 per cent, Kogarah Bay 1.7 per cent.
Overall, the councils removed the equivalent of 46 football fields of weeds or 10,700 wheelie bins of green waste.
Locally, Bayside Council conducted weed treatment over 26,269 square metres of land and revegetated 8650 square metres by planting 2885 plants.
Georges River Council treated 50,685sqm for weeds, and planted 60 plants over 160sqm of land.
Sutherland Shire Council treated 38,053sqm for weeds and planted 700 plants over 700sqm.
The report has a rating system for the ecological condition of the river. A+ is excellent, A and B+ is good, B- and C- is fair, and D+ and F- is poor.
The overall ecological condition of the freshwater reaches of the Georges River catchment in 2016-17 ws fair. The C+ rating was the same as the previous year.
The overall ecological condition of the Georges River estuary was B- which was similar to the past few years.
The overall estuary was graded B- to C+ or fair.
Lime Kiln Bay was B-, Gungah Bay B, Bonnet Bay B-, Carina Bay B+, Oatley Bay Moore Reserve B+, Oatley Bay Poulton Park C+, Kyle Bay A+ and Kogarah Bay B-.
The Woniora Rier was rated A+ or excellent for water and vegetation and A for Aquatic macroinvertebrates, or small animals that live for all, or part, of their lives in water.
In the Woniora sub-catchment Bottle Creek received an A for vegetation, B+ for water quality and A for macroinvertebrates.
Heathcote Creek received a A for vegetation, A + for water quality and A+ for macroinvertebrates.
The report also details bush regeneration and activities of the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team from the Building Indigenous Knowledge and Skills to Improve Urban Waterways, funded by the Australian Government.
Bush regeneration from the Riverkeeper Program over the year was substantial, with 62 ha of bush regeneration, over 10,000 native plantings and over 35,500 hours of labour.
Eight young Aboriginals graduated from the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team, gaining skills, knowledge and experience which will be invaluable as they embark on their environmental careers.
“Throughout this year the Georges Riverkeeper has seen the successful completion of the Australian Government funded Building Indigenous knowledge and skills to improve urban waterways grant and the continuation of the Riverkeeper Program cleaning up the rubbish along the river,” GRCCC chairperson, Sutherland Shire councillor Peter Scaysbrook said.