As far as Tammy Ven Dange is concerned, Canberrans have no one to blame but themselves for the state of Lake Burley Griffin and the only way to clean it up is for the community to do the work.
"Unless you want the government to dictate everything we do and our taxes to be extremely high, we have to [clean up the lake]. The community has to take some pride in what we have here and I think most Canberrans do," she said.
In a five-minute period on Friday afternoon near where Sullivans Creek meets the lake, Ms Ven Dange collected a length of fishing line with a fishing hook tied to a glass bottle, plastic bottles, a towel and other pieces of plastic.
After a trip around the world spent paddling along waterways, Ms Ven Dange was struck by the pervasiveness of rubbish and decided to do something about it when she returned to Canberra.
"Every single place there was rubbish and I got back and I was like, 'I'm so over this rubbish thing.' And it was about the time that National Geographic had published that story about plastic, which was pretty eye-opening about how much plastic was in our seas.
"I just said, 'Right, I've got some time on my hands right now ... I could do something about this ... I reckon we can clean this thing up'," she said.
Now in its second year, the annual Clean Up Lake Burley Griffin day brings together members of the National Capital Authority lake user group, working alongside the Burley Griffin Canoe Club, Capital Lakes Rowing Club, Canberra Ice Dragons Boat Club, the Molonglo Conservation Group, the Yarralumla Residents' Association and Triathlon ACT.
"The good thing last year is we only found one single-use plastic bag. Canberra being one of the first to implement the single-use plastic bag ban policy has shown that it looks like it's working one level," Ms Ven Dange.
More than 580 people have expressed an interest online in helping out and many of the volunteers from the first event have come back again.
The ACT government will on Monday collect the rubbish, which will be sorted during the clean up by volunteers.
Volunteers can register at seven sites around the lake from 9am, with boat owners encouraged to head out onto the water and retrieve rubbish from otherwise hard to reach places. The clean-up effort will start at 9.30 and run until noon.
Meanwhile, at Lake Tuggeranong, the University of Canberra will trial a blue-green algal knock-down agent and upgraded pollutant traps and storm water intercepts will be built, the ACT government announced on Friday.
Environment Minister Mick Gentleman said residents had expressed their concerns for the lake's quality. "We will continue to work with the University of Canberra to identify pollutant sources and ways to reduce the levels of nutrients applied to sports fields across the territory," he said.
- More information about the Clean Up Lake Burley Griffin Day can be found here.