Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Clean Up Australia Story

April 2013, by Priyanka Suryanarayanan.

Clean Up Australia Day, held on the first Sunday in March every year, is a flagship event organised by Clean Up Australia. It is a day with a simple premise behind it – do your bit for the environment by cleaning up your local areas.

To participate in a Clean Up Australia day event any person can register a site to clean-up and others can join them there. When I decided to participate on 3 March this year, Mount Majura was already registered as a clean-up site, and that was the one I picked to clean.

As this was the first time I got involved in a clean-up event, I think the apt description of my experience is ‘eye-opening’. In the space of an hour, during which I covered just a small area of Mount Majura, I had picked up two collection bags of waste and recyclable items, including: newspaper, golf balls, plastic bags, water bottles, tyres, metal rods, pieces of thermocol and an entire bag of rusted tin cans.

An experience like this, on a crisp Sunday morning with kangaroos looking on, really helps put things in perspective. Litter not only spoils the beauty of the natural environment but also can be harmful to wildlife. Furthermore, it can last for a long time depending on the disintegration of the garbage. For example aluminium cans do not disintegrate, and some plastics take decades to break down. Thus, it is quite evident that cleaning up our local areas and becoming more conscious of littering is an important issue for the community.

Clean Up Australia is only one such campaign and there are others that also encourage people to clean-up and be more aware of the impacts littering. Our inner south SEE-change group holds regular working parties at the local Jerrabomberra Wetlands.

Some other national projects that focus on this area are:

Take 3 – a campaign with a simple message; Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave an area be it a lake, a nature reserve or a beach.

Responsible Runners – Runners and walkers do their bit every Sunday through for a fun 30 minute clean up of Bondi, Manly, Coogee, and Glenelg (Adelaide) beaches.

Keep Australia Beautiful – An organisation with a mission to lead, challenge and inspire all Australians to strive for a sustainable and litter free environment.

With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government