COVID-19 and the environment

Tuesday 7 April 2020

A drastic reduction in litter in our parks and beaches and fewer cars on the road are just some of the unintended effects of COVID-19 restrictions in Waverley.

We asked our Environmental Sustainability team to nominate what improvements they had seen in the local environment since restrictions on social gatherings were enforced in NSW. These were some of their observations:

  • Decrease in air pollution from less cars being on the road
  • Decrease in litter in our parks, beaches and other public places
  • Quieter streets and neighbours (less traffic noise)
  • Streets are safer for cyclists and people exercising
  • Shorter commute times to attend medical appointments/essential work
  • More people are gardening, composting and growing their own food.

Waverley Paula Masselos said it was important for people to remain focused on the positives during this difficult and challenging time.

“It’s important to enjoy our time at home with our families, to share meals with the people we live with, and to continue to care for our local environment,” Mayor Masselos said.

"With most of us now staying at home, we need to continue to recycle and be mindful about the amount of household rubbish we generate. Now could be a good time to try composting to reduce food waste at home.”

“Our waste collection and public cleansing staff are working hard to ensure our area remains clean, healthy and safe. Please place your waste and recycling inside the appropriate bins and make sure that your rubbish is secure when placed out for collection to avoid any wind-blown litter.”

This week, the Council planted four Norfolk Pines and three Watergums in Waverley Park. Not only will these urban trees improve air quality, help provide habitat for native species and provide sunshade for the community during Australia's warmer months, they will also protect Council's Water Harvesting infrastructure under the sports field.

The underground tanks have a capacity of 250,000 litres. These tanks filter and store rainwater and groundwater seepage at Waverley Park to irrigate the oval, sports fields and gardens. In addition to this, the tanks provide water for flushing toilets at the Margaret Whitlam Centre. Read related story here.

“Beyond significant savings of approximately nine mega litres of drinking water per year and financial savings of $20,000 annually, the project also improves local water quality by reducing stormwater run-off,” Mayor Masselos said.

"These trees will contribute to the NSW Governments 5 million trees program which aims to increase Sydney's tree canopy".

For more information about this award-winning project, visit:

For the Council’s latest responses to COVID-19, visit For the latest Health advice, visit