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Millions of hands set to join in this weekend’s UN-backed clean up world campaign

Millions of hands set to join in this weekend’s UN-backed clean up world campaign

From the palm-fringed shores of the Pacific islands of Tonga to the banks of the Vistula in Poland, some 35 million people are expected to take part in this year's United Nations-backed Clean Up the World Weekend starting on Friday, with activities ranging from litter removal to tree planting to water conservation to promote sustainable living.

“Millions of people simply conserving water, and recycling waste adds up to a huge environmental benefit for the planet,” Australian founder and chairman of Clean Up the World Ian Kiernan said of this year’s 15th annual celebration of the community-based campaign, which is supported by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“Our aim is to encourage individuals to take responsibility for the environment through a range of affordable actions. What is inspiring is the variety of activities that participating organizations have initiated in their countries in response to this challenge,” he added.

The 2007 theme, “Our Climate, Our Actions, Our Future,” channels community action towards addressing the causes of climate change.

Among those undertaking activities this weekend are Our Earth Foundation in Poland and the Tonga Solid Waste Management Project, which are conducting nationwide clean-ups, and Programa TV Na Praia in Brazil, which is coordinating a day of activities to launch their anti-litter campaign.

“Climate change and other environmental challenges impact every corner and community on the planet,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said. “Our generation is witnessing the early stirrings of extreme weather events, melting ice and other climatic manifestations, and it is truly impressive to see so many communities responding to the challenge with grassroots enthusiasm and commitment.

“In this context, Clean Up the World is playing a leadership role by providing practical action and this is exactly how the world will start making a difference,” he added.