School students get ready for Clean Up Schools Day
The twentieth Clean Up Australia Day saw an increase in volunteers donning gloves and getting to down to work at major rubbish hotspot areas. Unfortunately, the most frequently dropped items are still cigarette butts and recyclables, such as glass and plastic.
Following the annual event, held on 7 March, Clean Up Australia Day founder, Ian Kiernan AO said the twentieth anniversary was an opportunity to "look forward and encourage greater action to take steps to overcome key rubbish problems that continue to plague Australia".
Cigarette butts were again the number one rubbish item collected. They have topped the list for the past 14 years. In addition to recyclables and cigarette butts, Kiernan identified e-waste as a major dumping challenge.
Pollution of waterways remained a problem, while illegal dumping was earmarked as a new threat.
Preliminary results from Clean Up Australia Day estimated that a staggering 15,560 tonnes of rubbish was removed from beaches, waterways, parks and bushland across Australia. An estimated 588,000 volunteers across the country took part at 7,073 registered sites. The turn-out marks an increase of 6 per cent from 2009.
In New South Wales, an estimated 6,097 tonnes of rubbish was collected by 236,100 volunteers at 2,771 sites.
Clean Up Day in progress on the coast
Two days before Clean Up Australia Day, 827 NSW schools took part in Schools Clean Up Day. The event encouraged students to clean up their local school ground, improve the quality of their environment, and become environmentally responsible from a young age.
"It's critical that young Australians are thinking about the environment and what they can do from a young age to help preserve our beautiful country for years to come," said Kiernan.
A record number of businesses (498) were registered across Australia for Business Clean Up Day on 2 March. The figure was an increase of over 30 per cent on 2009.
Visit the Clean Up Australia website for more information.