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Energy and environment
Clean Up Australia Day
rubbish clean-up campaign done by volunteers

This is a story of one man's vision, commitment and leadership.

In 1986-87 Sydney property developer Ian Kiernan took part in an around-the-world yacht race. He was so shocked by the plastic bags and other pollution he saw in the world's oceans that he decided to do something about it.

In 1989, with the help of friends and volunteers, he organised Clean Up the Harbour Day. The next year it was Clean Up Australia Day. Public participation in the annual clean-up increases every year and it is now recognised as the largest and most successful community event in the nation. Kiernan went one bigger in 1994 with Clean Up the World Day. In 2000 Clean Up the World Day attracted over 40 million volunteers in more than 120 different countries in an enormous clean-up.

In 1998 Ian Kiernan was awarded the United Nations Environment Program Sasakawa Environment Prize.

Kiernan believes that his best promotional tool is his credibility, the fact that he can get something good done without paying for it or taking a cut for himself. This attracts sponsors, free ad space, invitations to address groups and, most importantly, volunteers.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
Clean Up Australia Ltd : management
Key People
Ian Kiernan AO: founder, director

Further Reading
The rubbish report, results of the first national litter survey Clean Up Australia Clean Up Australia Ltd, Sydney, 1991.

Clean Up Australia
Clean Up the World
United Nations Environment Program Sasakawa Environment Prize
Ian Kiernan as a top achiever

Each year thousands of volunteers clean up parks, roads and waterways. Courtesy Clean up Australia Ltd.
ATSE Powerhouse Museum