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Volunteers unite to face Australia’s major rubbish challenges

Media Release - 7 March 2010

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the nation today helped celebrate Clean Up Australia Day’s 20thanniversary year, donning gloves to clean up Australia’s major rubbish hotspot areas and clear the most frequently dropped items, including cigarette butts and recyclables such as glass, plastic and paper.

Preliminary results in from organisers this afternoon estimate that a staggering 15,560 tonnes of rubbish has been removed from beaches, waterways, parks and bushland across Australia. An estimated 588,000 volunteers across the country are taking part in the day at 7073 registered sites, which marks an increase of 6% from 2009.

“This year is a special year for Clean Up Australia Day being our 20th anniversary, so we’d like to pay tribute to all the Australian volunteers and their amazing efforts over the past 20 years to help preserve our environment,” said Ian Kiernan.

In reflecting on the past 20 years of this iconic event, Clean Up Australia Day Founder Ian Kiernan AO has announced that there are five major rubbish challenges facing Australia that need to be addressed – cigarette butts, recyclables, illegal dumping, e-waste and the pollution of our waterways.

“It’s time to look forward and encourage greater action – particularly by government and industry – to take steps to overcome key rubbish problems that continue to plague Australia. Given that 50% of all items cleaned up last year were recyclable, there’s a clear need for a national action plan on recycling to reduce the number of plastic bottles and bags we see destroying the Australian environment,” Kiernan added.

Kiernan also said that the pollution of waterways which prompted him to start Clean Up Australia Day in the first place continues to be a problem, as are cigarette butts, the number one rubbish item for the past 14 years. New threats include illegal dumping and the increasing need to recycle e-waste (mobile phones, computers and other consumables) to stop the vast amounts going into landfill.

Clean Up Australia Day state results
QLD: 1340 sites, 97,486 volunteers, 2948 tonnes of rubbish
NSW: 2771 sites, 236,100 volunteers, 6097 tonnes of rubbish
VIC: 1353 sites, 111,448 volunteers, 2977 tonnes of rubbish
SA: 593 sites, 61,510 volunteers, 1304 tonnes of rubbish
WA: 536 sites, 42,462 volunteers, 1179 tonnes of rubbish
TAS: 274 sites, 22,432 volunteers, 602 tonnes of rubbish
ACT: 125 sites, 9,376 volunteers, 275 tonnes of rubbish
NT: 81 sites, 7552 volunteers, 178 tonnes of rubbish

Pool Vision: Betacam vision of rubbish problem areas and issues as well as Clean Up Australia Day volunteers will be available on the day. News quality photographs are also available on request.

For further information or interviews contact: Sophie Coleman 0406 648 144; cleanup@thisismango.com.au