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Clean Up Australia Day – March 5, 2023

Clean Up Australia Day is an annual event observed on the first Sunday of March as part of Australia’s efforts to conserve the environment, and this year, it falls on March 5. The idea is to encourage and empower communities to clean up the parks, bushland, water reserves, and other parts of Australia. For over 30 years, residents, schools, individuals, communities, and businesses have volunteered in their thousands to clean up and get rid of plastic and glass. The focus is equally on preventing waste and removing it from the environment. Let us get our cleaning shoes on and find out more about Australia’s biggest community-based environmental event.

History of Clean Up Australia Day

As the largest community-based environmental event, Clean Up Australia Day has been in existence since 1990. Founder Ian Kiernan had a simple idea to make a difference in Sydney Harbour after his lifelong dream of sailing around the world came about. As a passionate sailor, he competed in the BOC Challenge Solo Round-the-World Yacht Race in his yacht, “Spirit of Sydney.” During this adventure, he was exposed to and shocked by the pollution and rubbish he constantly saw in certain areas.

Once he returned, he started making concerted efforts to clean Australia up. With the support of his friends, he organized a community event called Clean Up Sydney Harbour in 1989. It received enormous public support, with more than 40,000 people in attendance who donated their time and energy to the environmental effort.

The following year, Clean Up Australia was born due to the belief that if people in Sydney could be mobilized into action, so could the whole of Australia. Almost 300,000 people showed up during the first Clean Up Australia Day in 1990. For the past three decades, people have devoted their time helping to collect and clear trash from their environments. To take their concept and make it a global initiative, Clean Up Australia gained the support of the United Nations Environment Programme in 1993, and Clean Up the World Day was born, which has involved about 80 million people in 80 countries.

Clean Up Australia Day timeline

1987
Founder Ian Kiernan Sails from Australia

Ian Kiernan competes in the BOC Challenge Solo Round-the-World Yacht Race and sees a lot of pollution and rubbish in the Sargasso Sea.

1989
Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day

Ian Kiernan organizes Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day with over 40,000 people in attendance.

1990
First Clean Up Australia Day

The first event is held in 1990 and almost 300,000 people turn up to volunteer their time and energy to collect and clear the rubbish around Australia.

2020
Thirty Years of Clean Up Australia

Clean Up Australia celebrates 30 years of environmental efforts in Australia.

Clean Up Australia Day FAQs

Where was Clean Up Australia Day held?

The now annual event first took place in the Sydney Harbour.

What can I wear during a clean-up?

It is best to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing as there will be a lot of movement during the cleanup activities.

What kind of gloves should I wear?

Household or garden gloves are best as they are thick, but do not use latex gloves because they tear easily due to being too thin.

How to Observe Clean Up Australia Day

  1. Donate

    Donate your time to clean up your environment. If you can, make donations to organizations committed to fighting for the environment by giving monetary donations so they can continue educating and issuing the materials needed.

  2. Recycle

    Contribute to the recycling efforts in your own country by recycling as much as you can and reducing waste around you. Educate those around you about the benefits of recycling and the harmful effects that not recycling has on our planet.

  3. Join a Clean Up

    A great way to get involved is to join a Clean-Up operation and be a part of the environmental initiative. Invite a couple of friends along and join others in cleaning Australia up to make a difference and keep Australia tidy.

5 Necessities For Picking Up Trash

  1. Hand in glove

    When picking up trash, always make sure you wear gloves, especially when removing sharp objects like glass.

  2. Mobile phone

    Always have your phone charged and with you in case of an emergency.

  3. Biodegradable bags are best

    These bags are incredibly useful for storing trash and they don’t contribute to the environmental waste that’s being cleaned up.

  4. Covered and closed shoes

    It is important to wear closed and covered shoes as there might be sharp objects along the paths to clean up.

  5. Take backup

    Other supplies to take along are a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, antibacterial hand sanitizer, a first-aid kit, and water bottles.

Why Clean Up Australia Day is Important

  1. It’s a day to educate

    It is a great day to educate everyone, including children, about the waste humans produce and the negative effects of discarding it anywhere. It is a good time to focus on recycling and environmental topics with children. We can also highlight how waste impacts animals.

  2. It promotes recycling initiatives

    As much as this day is about clean-up, it is also an opportunity to think up creative ways to encourage people to recycle. People can start campaigns, go to schools, add recycling bins in their communities, and do other things to get people to recycle.

  3. We protect the animals

    On Clean Up Australia Day, pieces of plastic, both small and large, are picked up. This effectively reduces the amount of plastic that can be eaten by animals, birds, and sea creatures.

Clean Up Australia Day dates

YearDateDay
2022March 6Sunday
2023March 5Sunday
2024March 3Sunday
2025March 2Sunday
2026March 1Sunday

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