Clean Up The World Maps Activities Online

SYDNEY, Australia, September 19, 2008 (ENS) – A new online tool will track environmental protection activities across the planet as part of the annual Clean Up the World Weekend, the United Nations Environment Programme announced today.

Clean Up the World Weekend, celebrated globally on the third weekend in September, starts today.

Clean Up the World is a global environmental campaign held in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, which assists through distribution of media materials and endorsement of the program, as well as encouraging a worldwide network of environment and community groups to participate.

Founded by Australian environmental campaigner Ian Kiernan 16 years ago, the Clean Up the World campaign and UNEP are launching the website today.

Kids in Cordoba, Spain clean their corner
of the world. (All photos courtesy
Clean Up The World)

“All over the world people are seeing the devastating effects of climate change. Clean Up the World provides every person and every community with the opportunity to do something about it,” Kiernan said.

“Now, thanks to Clean Up the World’s use of Google Maps, we have the tool to visually show the extent of the environmental action being undertaken around the world and motivate new communities to get involved in the campaign,” he said.

Many of this year’s activities will focus on limiting the impact of climate change under the campaign’s theme “Start today… Save tomorrow – Clean Up Our Climate.”

“Climate change is the number one issue facing humanity at the turn of the 21st century,” said UNEP Director-General Achim Steiner. “Lives are threatened as is the very fabric of all countries and communities. So let’s all start today to save tomorrow.”

The website, developed with the support of Google, will allow communities participating in this weekend’s clean-up campaign to share their projects worldwide.

Friends clean a Cuban beach.

On the website, individual environmental projects are marked on a map of the world, and a click of the mouse provides users with a project’s name, location and description.

Participating organizations and their volunteers will take part in a range of activities designed to improve the environment such as waste reduction and recycling, water and energy conservation and revegetation projects.

Clean The World began 17 years ago as an idea in the mind of the solo-yachtsman and builder from Sydney, Australia.

In 1987, Ian Kiernan competed in the BOC Challenge solo yacht race and as he sailed around the world he was shocked by the pollution he saw. Having waited years to see the Sargasso Sea’s long golden weeds, he was disappointed to find them polluted and tangled with rubbish.

“I can’t overstate the disappointment I felt when I found this sea of magic and myth littered with rubbish from discarded thongs, plastic buckets and disposable nappies, to toothpaste tubes and plastic bags,” Kiernan said.

Once back in Sydney, Kiernan and some friends held Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day in 1989. The event drew 40,000 volunteers who removed rusted car bodies, plastics of all kinds, glass bottles and cigarette butts from the harbor.

Kiernan and his committee believed that if a city could be mobilized to take action, then so could the country. Nearly 300,000 volunteers turned out on the first Clean Up Australia Day in 1990 and that involvement has steadily increased.

In 2007, Clean Up the World Member organizations in more than 115 countries participated in activities including clean up events, recycling and resource recovery projects, biodiversity initiatives, education and community awareness campaigns, competitions and exhibitions.

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