Canberrans are getting together to clean up Lake Burley Griffin – are you in?

Dominic Giannini 12 November 2020 2
Volunteers collecting rubbish at Lake Burley Griffin.

Volunteers collected 108 bags of rubbish at last year’s clean-up day at Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Supplied.

Hundreds of Canberrans will band together to clean up Lake Burley Griffin on Sunday, 15 November, as part of the third annual clean-up day.

More than 130 volunteers collected 108 bags of rubbish in 2019, as well as larger objects such as tyres, furniture and industrial items that had been dumped in the city’s most iconic lake.

Clean-up coordinator Tammy Ven Dange, who started the initiative three years ago, says she is hoping for the event’s biggest ever turn out this year following a social media blitz.

“There is a direct correlation between the number of people who volunteer and the number of bags we bring back,” she says.

“Hundreds of people have expressed interest so it would be fantastic if we had our biggest turnout this year. The more the merrier because the lake is huge and we cannot get to all the places if we do not have more volunteers.”

Volunteers can be on foot or in watercraft such as a dragon boat, kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board to join in and just need to register at one of the six booths on Sunday morning.

Bags of rubbish collected from Lake Burley Griffin clean-up day.

Clean-up coordinator Tammy Ven Dange says the more people who help out, the more rubbish that can be removed from the lake. Photo: Supplied.

Vice-president of the Canberra Ice Dragons Dragon Boat Club, Marilyn Edwards, has been a part of the clean-up initiative since it started and will be looking after the Lotus Bay site this year.

“I think, ‘Well, why shouldn’t we do it?’ – we use the lake a lot,” she says. “We are always pulling things out of the lake and it is really terrible to see all the stuff coming out.”


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It was a similar thought that spurred Tammy to start the clean-up day in conjunction with organisations such as Clean-up Australia, the Burley Griffin Canoe Club, Capital Lakes Rowing Club, the Ice Dragons Dragon Boat Club, Yarralumla Residence Association and St Johns Ambulance.

“I am a long-time paddler and I was sick of seeing rubbish in the lake,” says Tammy. “It was so big I realised there was no way I could make a big difference on my own … so I approached the lake user group and asked if they knew anyone who would be interested in helping us out.

Volunteers at the 2019 Lake Burley Griffin clean-up day.

More than 130 volunteers turned up for the 2019 Lake Burley Griffin clean-up day. Photo: Supplied.

“Sure enough, I had a bunch of people volunteer and started off with five or six places. It keeps getting bigger and bigger and this year we decided to put it at the end of National Recycling Week.

“The first year we did it we only found one plastic bag and that was really interesting because the ACT was one of the first places to introduce the single-use plastic bag ban.


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“Now that there is a value of bottles [ACT Container Deposit Scheme] we are hoping to see less of them. Now that they are worth 10 cents to someone, it will be interesting to see how many we find this year.”

Volunteer registration will begin at 8 am on Sunday, 15 November at:

  • Burley Griffin Canoe Club.
  • Lotus Bay (near the Southern Cross Yacht Club).
  • Weston Park (near the play station).
  • Black Mountain Peninsula (near the picnic benches on the west side).
  • Grevillea Park (at the Capital Lakes Rowing Club).

Volunteers can also register at the Kingston Foreshore (near Local Press Cafe) but not with watercraft.

The clean-up will take place between 9 am and 12 pm.

More information can be found on the Lake Burley Griffin clean-up day Facebook page.


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2 Responses to Canberrans are getting together to clean up Lake Burley Griffin – are you in?
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Acton Acton 2:33 pm 13 Nov 20

I’ll be there. I would be good to see the slogan chanting climate change and extinction rebellion protesters helping out too, if they can rouse themselves from bed that early on a Sunday.

russianafroman russianafroman 2:07 pm 13 Nov 20

Wonder if they find any of those hire scooters in the lake

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