35 million volunteers to fan out in UN-backed clean up world campaign

16 September 2005

From Nairobi to New York and from small villages to entire countries, some 35 million volunteers in 115 nations are taking part in this year's United Nations-backed Clean Up the World Weekend starting today, with activities ranging from litter removal to tree planting as part of an effort to promote sustainable living.

"Clean Up the World recognizes the importance of the environment to our everyday lives," UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said.

"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," he added of the Sydney-based Australian initiative created in the wake of the success of Clean Up Australia Day, first held in 1990.

"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."

The campaign, held in conjunction with the UNEP, has grown steadily since the inaugural event in 1993 and has recorded an estimated 18 per cent increase in participation this year. Across many regions communities will also implement recycling and educational programmes.

In Malaysia, close to 2,000 volunteers will remove rubbish from the famed Terengganu beaches on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula.

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 centre 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.

UNEP, which through its Regional Office for Africa works to restore clean water to Nairobi's riverine system, will coordinate clean ups to promote a healthier environment to residents of Kenya's capital.

Hundreds of volunteers will clean up and plant trees throughout the "Jardín de la Reina," the second largest national park in Cuba.

And in Bahrain, over 2,500 girl guides will clean up the beaches, parks and historical places around the 33 Bahraini islands situated in the Gulf.


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