Residents have started a grassroots group to clean up the foreshore at Altona.

Altona Beach Patrol 3018 was formed by marine biologist Matt McArthur and Melinda Corry in response to a burgeoning litter problem.

The group’s first clean-up event earlier this month involved about 50 people picking up more than 90 kilograms of rubbish from the foreshore.

Mr McArthur said he was shocked by the amount of litter collected that day because Hobsons Bay council had combed the beach with a tractor just four days earlier.

Drink bottles and cigarette butts made up the bulk of the rubbish volunteers picked up.

Mr McArthur said the group formed after seeing that the beach was “particularly messy” on a couple of days over summer.

“I’ve got a background in marine research, so I love being close to the sea and I really value our foreshore,” he said. “That couple of days of real mess were the tipping point that got me into trying to do something about it.”

The group plans monthly clean-up get-togethers, with the next one scheduled for March 6, meeting at Altona Pier at 2.30pm.

“Just being out there that one time a month, I think, will help people realise that it’s a problem,” Mr McArthur said. “That people who didn’t help generate the problem are willing to do something about it, I hope, will inspire more people to not make that a problem in the first place.

“If we can reduce the problem to the point where the group becomes redundant that would be the better outcome.

“It’s not just happening at the beach, it’s actually happening in our streets.”

Visit the group’s Facebook page.