1 Mar 2010
CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA DAY is on Sunday the 7th March and what a fantastic job the thousands of volunteers Australia wide does on this day.
Rubbish and waste is a large and inescapable part of our modern lifestyle and is sadly not always disposed of in a responsible manner, or it becomes loose debris on the way to the landfill sites. Every little piece adds to an already large problem, and it takes an initiative such as Clean Up Australia Day to remind us to take the time to get our hands dirty for our future wellbeing.
The history of ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ is a wonderful story of a typical Aussie bloke who saw a problem and decided to do something about it. A simple concept is now a national initiative and a credit to all involved – organisers, volunteers, sponsors etc.
Please take a moment to read the story of Ian Kiernan (below), and visit the Clean Up Australia website, www.cleanup.org.au
to find out how you can help or to find a Clean Up site in Everton Park. There’s also a heap of information and tips for living greener and reducing energy consumption.
The Clean Up Story
In 1989 an 'average Australian bloke' had a simple idea to make a difference in his own backyard – Sydney Harbour.
This simple idea has now become the nation's largest community-based environmental event, Clean Up Australia Day.
It is hard to believe that this campaign began as the inspiration of one man, Australian builder and solo yachtsman, Ian Kiernan.
As he sailed through the oceans of the world in his yacht 'Spirit of Sydney' he was shocked and disgusted by the pollution and rubbish that he continually encountered in areas such as the Sargasso Sea in the Caribbean.
Having waited years to see the Sargasso's legendary long golden weeds, Ian's excited anticipation turned to anger and disappointment when he found them polluted and tangled with rubbish.
The polluted state of the world's oceans motivated Ian to act.
Once back in Sydney Ian organised a community event with the support of a committee of friends, including Clean Up co founder Kim McKay AO – Clean Up Sydney Harbour.
Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day in 1989 received an enormous public response with more than 40,000 Sydneysiders donating their time and energy to clean up the harbour.
Rusted car bodies, plastics of all kinds, glass bottles and cigarette butts were removed by the tonne.
The idea of a clean up day had ignited an enthusiasm and desire among the community to get involved and make a difference to their local environment themselves.
The next year Clean Up Australia Day was born. Ian and his committee believed that if a capital city could be mobilised into action, then so could the whole nation.
Almost 300,000 volunteers turned out on the first Clean Up Australia Day in 1990 and that involvement has steadily increased ever since.
In the past 20 years, Australians have devoted more than 24 million hours towards the environment through Clean Up Australia Day and collected over 200,000 tonnes of rubbish.
The next step for Ian and Kim was to take the concept of Clean Up Australia Day to the rest of the world.
After gaining the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Clean Up the World was launched in 1993.
In its inaugural year, Clean Up the World involved approx. 30 million people in 80 countries.
The appeal of Clean Up the World (more than 35 million people from 120 countries annually take part) has demonstrated that this simple Australian idea has universal appeal and the health of the environment is of concern to people and communities worldwide.
Clean Up the World demonstrates that people across the planet are willing to do something themselves to help protect and care for their environment.
Since then Clean Up Australia has evolved into an organisation that works with the community, government and business to provide practical solutions to help us all live more sustainably every day of the year.