As the United Nations summit to review progress of the Millennium Development Goals draws to a close in New York, millions of volunteers around the world will take to their local parks, waterways, streets and forests in a bid to clean up the environment and promote sustainable living.
625 members, mobilising over 35 million volunteers from 115 countries, will take part in this year’s Clean Up the World Weekend, celebrated globally on 16-18 September.
The campaign, held in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has grown steadily since the inaugural event in 1993 and has recorded an estimated 18% increase in participation this year.
Activities will range from cleaning up small villages to overhauling entire countries. Across many regions communities will also implement recycling and educational programmes.
“Clean Up the World is an outstanding example of sustainable development in action with so many of our volunteer creating greener cities and communities for us all to live in,” said Ian Kiernan, Chairman and Founder of Clean Up the World. “Our volunteers transcend geographical, religious and political barriers to clean up, fix up and conserve our precious environment.”
“Clean Up the World recognizes the importance of the environment to our everyday lives,” said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer. “The environmental awareness that is growing worldwide—from the grassroots to governments—is due in no small way to the efforts of organizations such as Clean Up the World. At the heart of the campaign is a simple message: what we do matters. We all can—and must—take responsibility for our actions, and take the future of our planet into our own hands.”
In Malaysia, close to 2,000 volunteers will remove rubbish from the famed Terengganu beaches on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. Ian Kiernan will be assisting volunteers in removing the plastic rubbish, petrol cans and nets that are obstructing access to nesting grounds for critically endangered turtles.
Active environmentalist and entertainer Bette Midler, a new ambassador of the campaign, together with her team at the New York Restoration Project will be incorporating recycling and clean up activities into the annual Little Red Lighthouse Festival in Fort Washington Park in New York City.
From the commercial center Côté Béru to the pristine Loire Valley in France, French Sailing Federation, France Nature Environment, and Clean Up the World’s global Patron Fondation d’Entreprise Veolia Environnement, will lead thousands of volunteers in clean up activities across the country.
In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Tony Blair recently pledged his support of a clean up event in Sedgefield, “I would encourage the officers of Sedgefield Borough Council to seek out other partners in this country and around the world to join in and support this worthwhile initiative. It’s our world, and both individually and collectively we all have a responsibility to Clean up the World.”
UNEP, through its Regional Office for Africa, works to restore clean water to Nairobi’s riverine system and will coordinate clean ups to promote a healthier environment to Nairobi residents.
Hundreds of volunteers will clean up and plant trees throughout the “Jardín de la Reina”, the second largest National Park in Cuba.
Over 2,500 girl guides will clean up the beaches, parks and historical places around the 33 Bahrain islands situated in the Arabian Gulf.
Communities are encouraged to register with Clean Up the World by visiting www.cleanuptheworld.org. Members receive information and materials to assist with the promotion and implementation of environmental activities.
Original press release: Environmental Sustainability In Action – Nations Unite for a Greener World (UNEP)