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A COVID-safe Clean Up Australia
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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There’s no doubt that Clean Up Australia inspires and empowers communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our precious environment. Thirty years ago, Ian Kiernan, who described himself as an “average Australian bloke”, had the idea to create a difference. As a keen sailor, Ian was upset by the pollution and rubbish that he would always encounter in the oceans of the world. Just like that, Ian organised a community event with the support of a committee of friends, including co-founder Kim McKay AO. This event in 1990 awakened enthusiasm and desire among Ian’s community to get involved and make a difference. Now it’s become Australia’s largest community-based environmental event.

Since then, 18.3 million Australians have donated their time as part of Clean Up Australia activities over the past 30 years, with an impressive 36 million hours of volunteer time being donated to the cause. A terrifying 380,000 ute-loads of rubbish has been removed as part of Clean Up Australia activities.

Although Australia’s waste challenges can’t be resolved in one solo day, over the past 30 years it’s evolved into an organisation that works with government, businesses and community to deliver practical solutions to help everyone act more sustainably every day of the year. Nowadays, the primary focus of Clean Up Australia is to concentrate on preventing rubbish entering our environment as much as on removing what has already been accrued.

While Clean Up Australia Day this year may look a little different to previous years, everyone is still strongly encouraged to get involved and register a site to receive a free kit. The health and safety of the Clean Up Australia Day volunteers and the broader community is pivotal to the event organisers and they encourage everyone to co-operate and proceed with caution during these unprecedented times. If your area becomes a hot spot, you must postpone your activity and make sure your Clean Up event is compliant with your area’s restrictions.

Additional conditions include a maximum number of volunteers per site determined by your area’s restrictions on the date of the event, and split into groups of 10 to adhere with protocols surrounding social distancing. A QR code for sign-in has been introduced, as well as COVID-safe Clean Up kits that include individual gloves and bags for each volunteer to ensure no materials are shared, minimising the risk of spread. Furthermore, the End of Clean Up Report can now be completed online.

Share using the hashtags #CleanUpAustralia #StepUpToCleanUp and find out more information by visiting


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