DFAT posts around the world took part in 'Clean Up the World' campaign activities throughout September 2012.
'Clean up Australia' had begun in 1990, inspired by Australian yachtsman Ian Kiernan. After gaining the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) , Clean Up the World was launched in 1993 as a community based environmental campaign that inspires and empowers communities from every corner of the globe to clean up, fix up and conserve their environment.
In Vanuatu, 600 volunteers participated in a big clean-up event in downtown Port Vila, using clean-up bags provided by DFAT and the Vanuatu Tourism Office. An environmental awareness program in schools around Port Vila was a great success, with the Wan Smol Bag (one small bag) and Live & Learn events teaching children about the effects of littering on the environment.
In Vietnam, DFAT's post at Ho Chi Minh City collaborated with the TaKou Nature Reserve Center in Binh Thuan Province to organise a clean-up of the area. More than a thousand students and teachers, along with DFAT officers, participated in clean-up activities. Locally-engaged DFAT staff and the Head of Mission helped clean up a residential area and plant 20 trees, along with several hundred local residents.
DFAT staff in Chennai, India, joined with 1200 volunteers from local environment organisations, the Indian Coast Guard, students from local colleges, and residents of local fishing villages to clean up Chennai's Marina Beach. The event was timed to coincide with International Coastal Cleanup Day.
In Singapore, the Australia New Zealand Association's Beach Cleanup on 9 September saw volunteers collect more than a tonne of rubbish and 4,000 plastic bottles from Tanah Merah beach.
DFAT's Port Moresby post in Papua New Guinea staged a successful clean-up of Bavaroko Primary School, with more than 300 volunteers, partnering with the education department and the school's board of management. Our post donated bins and cleaning equipment, and the 'taking pride' message resonated well with concurrent Independence Day celebrations.
The State Environmental Protection Agency in Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia, held a clean-up effort that spanned an entire week, with more than 200 volunteers from Pohpei's small population.
And in Washington, in the United States of America, DFAT staff volunteered with the Casey Trees organisation, a group that concerns itself with protecting the tree canopy in the US capital. Some 50 young trees in the circle of land directly in front of the Washington embassy building are being kept watered, and embassy staff will keep a watchful eye on them as they grow.