Australian environmentalists look back on global cleanup efforts

Global Business


More than 40 million people from 130 countries will take part in Cleanup Day projects this year alone.

This global effort can be traced back to Australia where the effort to clean up the world’s waterways began more than a quarter of a century ago.

CCTV’s Greg Navarro has more from Sydney.

Australian environmentalists look back on global cleanup efforts

Ian Kieran wanted to make a difference when he initiated Clean Up Australia Day 20 years ago. Now more and more people from younger generations are making Australia's waterways clean. CCTV’s Greg Navarro has more from Sydney.

Sydney’s iconic Bondi is home to a pristine beach. “But when you do a cleanup day you realize there is rubbish that is small but is still as of concern as large amounts of rubbish,” said NSW Minister Gabrielle Upton.

Not far away along Sydney’s waterfront, another cleanup day event was held. And the man responsible for what has become an annual event across the country watched with interest.

“The waterways are the ultimate receptacle and we’ve just got to get to the problem before it gets there,” said Ian Kiernan, founder of Clean Up Australia.

That’s the same message the 75-year-old Australian has been spreading for more than 25 years when he organized the first Clean Up Australia Day in 1989.

This all started when Ian Kieran was in the midst of a solo yachting race around the world and realized he and his boat weren’t the only things in the water. This prompted Kiernan, a builder by trade, to hold a cleanup event in Sydney in 1989. More than 30,000 people took part in the event.