In 1989 an ‘average Aussie bloke’ had a very simple idea to make a big difference and clean up his own ‘backyard’, the Sydney Harbour. This idea has now become Australia’s largest community-based environmental event, Clean Up Australia Day. It is amazing to know that that this nation-wide event began from the inspiration of one man, Australian builder and yachtsman, Ian Kiernan.
As an avid sailor, Ian dreamed of sailing around the world, and in 1987, Ian’s dream became a reality as he competed in the BOC Challenge solo around-the-world yacht race. As he sailed through oceans in the world he was shocked by the rubbish and pollution he encountered in areas such as Sargasso Sea in the Caribbean.
Having waited his entire life to visit what he expected to be some of the most beautiful places in the world, his excitement and anticipation turned to disappointment and anger when all he found was pollution. The state of the world’s waters motivated Ian to act and once he was back in Sydney, Ian organised an event with the support of his community and friends called Clean Up Sydney Harbour.
This day in 1989 received an enormous amount of public support with more than 40,000 Sydney residents donating their time and energy to help clean up the Sydney Harbour. The very next year, Clean Up Australia Day was born and 300,000 people volunteers turned out on the first Clean Up Australia Day in 1990 and that number has increased every year since.
Over the past 25 years, more than 27.2 million hours have been devoted towards helping the environment through Clean Up Australia Day, and over 288,000 tonnes of rubbish have been cleaned up.
On March 5th, 2017, thousands of Australians will once again take part in the annual Clean Up Australia Day campaign. This is a fantastic opportunity to help clean up your community, meet your neighbours and show your little ones how the laziness of others adds to the pollution of our amazing country.
Many local councils, schools and businesses help to support the program, working in sites around their community, picking up rubbish left in their area. You can check out the Clean Up Australia website to see how you can help, and see if there is already a clean up site near your location or set up your own group in a site where you know needs a lot of cleaning. Make sure register your group online.
This program is supported by many local councils and the site supervisors are provided with a range of items to help assist them. Bags, instructions, rubber gloves, signs to erect and more will be provided. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes, hats and sunscreen, and go to your selected site at the time appointed.
It is a fun event with all the family and you will be surprised what strange and interesting things you will find. Bring the little ones as they will enjoy it and it will teach them a lot about the damage done to the environment by not taking the proper care of rubbish.
Let’s help to make Australia more beautiful for generations to come.